Glossary of Sherry
Sherry has many unique terms to describe the process, tools and people involved in creating this wine. These are some of the most common terms.
Small Sherry stockholder. Historically, almacenistas would sell their wines to the big Sherry houses, where they would be blended into soleras to create the house style. In 1997, laws that prevented almacenistas from bottling their own Sherry were changed, making it possible for small producers to sell their own wine.
A grape varietal usually used for making sweet styles of Sherry. Different strains of Moscatel are actually grown all over the world. In Sherry, it finds its greatest expression in the town of Chipiona, where it produces a sherry with strong floral aromas.
System of fractional blending used to age Sherry and produce a consistent, non-vintage product. Essentially, small amounts of younger wine are gradually blended into older wine, and the final product is bottled from the barrel with the oldest wines.
Very old Sherries can receive a special designation indicating an approximate age for the soleras from which they are drawn. VOS is for wines at least 20 years old, and VORS is for wines at least 30 years old. VOS stands for Vinum Optimum Signatum, or Very Old Sherry, while VORS stands for Vinum Optimum Rarum Signatum, or Very Old Rare Sherry.
The D.O. of Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla is the home of Spain's most famous wine: Sherry. While the climate here on the southern end of Spain is largely Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean creates a unique microclimate in Sherry Country. The Denomination is situated near Cadiz and is bounded by the 3 towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria, and San Lucar de la Baramedea. This area is on the west-facing side of a large cape, and the Atlantic Ocean moderates the hot winds blowing down from the central plateau. This climate, along with the chalk-heavy soils that glaze over in the heat of the summer to trap in the moisture from the spring, creates perfect conditions for the grape varieties of Sherry: Palomino for dry Sherries, and Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez for the sweet Sherries.