Shanyn Ward is a WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Diploma graduate and wine buyer for Cask & Barrel Liquor Store. (Photo: Carmen Weld)

Wineology: If your grandma is drinking Sherry she’s a classy lady

Check out Okanagan sommelier Shanyn Ward’s wine column

Why is it whenever we think of Sherry, we think of Grandmas and then immediately conclude this is negative?

My Grandma was a classy, wonderful lady who had poise, compassion and good strong morals. She worked hard, was very smart and was a great mentor and mother. Best of all she was an excellent cook and my fondest memories are sitting around her dinner table with family and friends, laughing and telling stories.

I recall when I was going through the WSET Diploma program, studying the Sherry section of the course, I was called on to read out my tasting note for a particular Sherry and I said, “It smells like my Grandma’s house, around the dinner table just as coffee and dessert (probably apple crisp) was being served”. As you can probably imagine, that is not what my instructor was looking for and while I may not have passed her expectations, it occurred to me that Sherry made me think about my Grandma and I thought, why wouldn’t I want to drink this stuff?!

My absolute favorite thing about Sherry is how diverse it is. There is literally Sherry out there for everyone. No matter what occasion, what food, what mood, Sherry is always there…kind of like my Grandma.

If you like dry – there is dry, if you like mouth-coating sweetness, there is sweet, and about 100 other styles in between. I recognize that Sherry is a topic that deserves much more conversation than I have time for here, but I will try my best to simplify it.

All Sherry is fortified – meaning it has an addition on grape spirit. You will not see a Sherry below 15% alcohol. Sherry starts with a base wine and is fortified to a desirable level and then left to age, sometimes two years and other times 100s of years.

What I am loving this week:

Fino/ Manzanillo Sherry – it is the driest style of sherry. It is made by taking a still white wine made from the Palomino grape. It is fortified to no more than 15.5% and transferred to barrel. It is protected by oxygen in barrel by a yeast called “flor”. Flor is achieved because of the extremely humid conditions of the region it originates; Jerez, Spain. Fino Sherry is dry, with high acidity and has flavors and aromas of salty sea water, cooked citrus and almonds.

Amontillado – is a style made in the same way and aged under flor for a time and then fortified to a level higher than 15.5% alcohol, which in turn kills the flor and starts the oxidative aging process. It is still a dry style, but with more developed flavors of hazelnut, herbs and tobacco.

Oloroso – is when we move into sweeter styles. This kind of Sherry is only made in an oxidative style, which means it is never protected by flor and instead is aided in aging by oxygen, therefore creating different yet wonderful unique and complex aromas and flavours of roasted walnuts, smoked wood, leather and preserved fruit.

PX – the sweetest style made from the Pedro Ximenez grape. Grapes hang on the vine longer to achieve maximum ripeness, before being dried to concentrate sugars and flavors and then made into a wine that also spends time aging oxidatively. This style coats your mouth with its sweetness and has flavors of balsamic, fig jam, caramelized coffee and raisin.

Fino Sherry is meant to be drunk right after bottling, it does not benefit from age, but Sherry that has been oxidatively aged can be kept for years. They are extremely food friendly and can accompany many styles of dishes. I recommend Fino with fresh white fish, clams or feta, Oloroso with charcuterie such as smoked meat, cheese and nuts and PX with desserts made of chocolate and caramel or just pour it over Vanilla ice cream.

In conclusion, everyone should try Sherry. They are complex and wonderful and the perfect end to everyday. If your Grandma is drinking Sherry, I’d say she’s one smart lady!

Cheers!

shanynward@gmail.com

To check out past Wineology columns, click here.

Just Posted

Chris Griffin to headline Cool Ranch Comedy’s last show of the year

The event will take place at Fernando’s Pub on Dec. 11

Rockets extend point streak to eight games with shootout win over Blades

Rockets’ Ethan Ernst scored the shootout winner

Brain injury from domestic abuse a ‘public health crisis,’ says B.C. researcher

Nearly 80% of the domestic violence victims who reported to police last year were woman

More childcare spaces coming for Kelowna families

The provincial government stated that additional funding will create 68 more spaces in the Okanagan

Rockets grab win over reigning league champs in first game of road trip

Kelowna beat the Prince Albert Raiders 2-1 Friday night, take on Saskatoon Saturday

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Summerland college operated from 1906 to 1915

Ritchie Hall and Morton Hall were constructed for Okanagan Baptist College

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Most Read