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Best Sherry

An Anglicization of the Spanish town Jerez, Sherry is a fortified Spanish wine that's usually made from white Palomino grapes. It can be dry or sweet, crisp or nutty, and though it is usually used as a cooking wine in the New World, in Spain it's usually enjoyed instead of wine, either before or after dinner, or even paired with certain fish and poultry dishes.

There are a number of different types of Sherry, though they are often categorized as dry or sweet, or dry or cream. Dry Sherries, which include Fino, Manzanilla, and sometimes Amontillado have a crisp aftertaste and a lower sugar content than their sweet counterparts. Cream Sherries, which are some of the sweetest are also incredibly viscous and are known for having a creamy mouthfeel, which is how they get their name.

Unlike with port, liquor is added to Sherry to increase the alcohol content to around 20% after fermentation is complete. In a dry Sherry, sugar is not added after this, resulting in a strong Sherry that's not particularly sweet. In a sweet Sherry, sugars are added after fortification to create a beverage that can be intensely sweet.

Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry

Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry

Made from aromatic wine grapes that are allowed to dry on the vines, Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry tops this list as the best Cream Sherry. Not much sugar has been added to the Sherry, instead the sweetness comes mostly from the natural sweetness of the grapes. It has lots of caramel and creme brulee on both the nose and the palate, and a lingering, smooth finish. Though plenty sweet for a delicious digestif that can be enjoyed alone or paired with a caramel-based dessert, this Cream Sherry is on the light side and isn't as intense or a viscous as many others.

Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos.jpeg

Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos

Topping this list as the very best Dry Sherry is Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos. This Sherry made the list as one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines and has received scores in the 90's with professional critics. As an Amontillado, this sherry was not kept under a protective layer of yeast the entire time it was aged. As a result, it was exposed to oxygen in the casks, which has given it a nutty aroma and a rich amber color. You'll also find iodine and walnut on the nose, and caramel on the palate. This Sherry has a long finish and a relatively light mouthfeel. You'll want to enjoy a glass of this with cured cheeses, or strong vegetable dishes such as those featuring asparagus or artichokes.

Orleans Borbon Manzanilla Fina

Orleans Borbon Manzanilla Fina

Orleans Borbon Manzanilla Fina is a Sherry fit for a king. In fact, the winery that produces it is currently owned by the Spanish royal family and has only recently become available to those of us without blue blood. Manzanilla is a special style of Sherry that can only be made in the coastal region of Sanlucar de Barrameda since it's kept under a protective flor made of wild yeast native to this small corner of Spain. Like other Manzanilla Sherries, this one is dry, crisp, and incredibly light. It's made from a base of 100 percent Palomino wine, and has notes of almond, lemon curd, and even a hint of Spanish seaside. It has consistently received scores in the 90's and Wine & Spirits Magazine has even named it the Year's Best Buy Wine in 2013.

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