Sherry is making a comeback! Quite literally, too, if it’s being rescued from the back of the drinks cabinet in time for Aunt Maud’s annual Yuletide visit. You may wince at the prospect of pouring out a glass of sweet, sickly-coloured syrupy…stuff…for her, but you should forget your disdain for a moment and think about giving it a go this Christmas.

Here’s a rundown of what to try, when and with what, if you fancy a bit of retro with this year’s ho-ho-ho.

For salty nibbles and tapas

Try a Fino or a Manzanilla

This is light and dry and is made with a particular kind of yeast that comes from Andalucia in Spain. It has a very yeasty, bready-like aroma and is fresh and best served chilled. In fact, all sherries are best served chilled, but especially the lighter ones.

For rich meats and game birds (no, not Aunt Maud)

Try Oloroso. This sherry has been exposed to the air and so it’s oxidised, giving it a dark brown colour and a dry taste with overtones of spices, coffee, nuts and dried fruits.

For your cheese-board

You need a good all-rounder like an Amontillado. This is a cross (not literally) between the Fino and the Oloroso sherries. They still have the lightness, but with a bit of the nut/coffee/spice combo that the Oloroso has going on. They are typically dry, but you can find sweetened ones, usually labelled “medium”.

For desserts, cakes and other sweets

Try a cream sherry. Cream sherries can be any of the other styles, but they’ve been sweetened. Pale cream is usually a Fino, and cream is usually a sweetened Oloroso.

No guide to sherry would be complete without a nod to…

Pedro Ximenez

PX, as it’s known to its friends, is the godfather of sherry. It’s made from raisined grapes, so the flavors are more concentrated – molasses, nuts, toffee – and it’s also incredibly sweet. Pair it with chocolate or ice cream.


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