“La guía definitiva para el amplio mundo del vino generoso”

Jerez, oporto, madeira o marsala son algunos de los grandes vinos del mundo. Se trata de  fortified wines (vinos encabezados) a los que se ha añadido alcohol para facilitar la crianza biológica o detener la fermentación. El proceso fue popularizado por los ingleses a fines del siglo XVII para estabilizar y preservar los vinos durante los largos viajes por mar. Antes del desarrollo de esta técnica, muchos de estos tintos, blancos y dulces se elaboraban como vinos tranquilos y sin fortificar, explica la revista estadounidense Wine Enthusiast Magazine. 

En el artículo, titulado “La guía definitiva para el amplio mundo del vino generoso”, esta revista estadounidense recorre la mayor parte de las zonas que destacan por este tipo de elaboraciones. La autora, Courtney Schiessl, nos ofrece en esas líneas su visión sobre el jerez:


All Sherry hails from hot, dry southern Spain, centered in the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. While the low-acid, white Palomino grape dominates the region, it’s often supplemented by aromatic Moscatel (also known as Muscat of Alexandria) and robust Pedro Ximénez. In general, fermentation takes place in neutral stainless-steel tanks, followed by extended aging in neutral barrels.

Because Palomino is such a neutral grape, the aging process is crucial to the style of the finished wine. Sherry wines are aged in rows of barrels called criaderas using the solera system, whereby fresh wine is added to barrels holding multiple back years of wine, thus leading to many vintages being blended over time.

The process works like this: Winemakers take a percentage of wine from the oldest section below of a solera for bottling. Next, they top up the solera with wine from the first criadera (the next-oldest section), and then they fill the first criadera with wine from the second criadera, and so forth. Each style of Sherry has its own solera system within a bodega, some of which may be decades old.

Everything You Need To Know About Sherry

There are various styles of Sherry, but dry Sherries can be classified largely into two categories: those aged under a veil of yeast called flor, which includes fino and Manzanilla, and ones matured with oxygen contact, like oloroso. Some, like amontillado and Palo Cortado, are “hybrid” styles that undergo both aging techniques.

Generally, free-run and first-press juice is used for fino and Palo Cortado, while second-press juice is used for oloroso. “Free-run and first-press must generally has a more elegant, soft and neutral character,” says Antonio Flores, winemaker and master blender for González Byass. “This allows the flor to leave a dominant yeast character. For the oloroso style, we are looking for a must with more structure, body and complexity.”

Flor-aged Sherries are fortified with a grape spirit until the wine reaches between 15% and 15.5% abv. This encourages flor to grow, which protects the wine from oxygen and imbues it with almond-like, yeasty notes and a dry, refreshing texture. Sherries aged through oxidation are fortified to about 17% abv. Since flor cannot survive at those levels, oxygen can interact with the wine. This creates nutty, caramel-like notes and develops a round, viscous texture.

After a few months in barrel, the wines are assessed and can be reclassified. If a wine is too robust and hasn’t developed a strong layer of flor, it may be fortified again to 17% abv and aged as amontillado or slightly richer Palo Cortado solera systems. Both of these styles of wine have fresh, citrusy qualities and nutty, oxidative aging characteristics.

Sweet Sherries are the result of different winemaking decisions, though they’re also aged in solera. Naturally sweet Sherry like Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel are made from super-concentrated, dried grapes with sugar levels so high that fermentation doesn’t finish before the alcohol is added. They’re fortified to 15 or 16% abv. Pale Cream and Cream Sherries are usually fermented until dry, then fortified and sweetened.
Más información: https://www.winemag.com