Gather ‘round, kids! Today we’re going to learn about the fortified wines commonly known as “sherry”! We’ll start by figuring out what fortified means! It just means a kind of wine that has a “distilled spirit,” usually something like brandy, added to it after fermentation. We can remember this by pretending that the distilled spirit is like a little army quartering itself in the wine’s house in order to protect it! Isn’t learning about wine fun?
The first name people ever gave to Sherry was actually the Spanish Jerez, which doesn’t rhyme with “Mary” at all, does it? Well, if you don’t tell, I won’t! It’s named that because it is made from grapes grown near the town Jerez, which is in Spain. Isn’t that funny? In Europe, a wine can’t be called a sherry unless the grapes are grown near Jerez! Those silly Europeans!
There are light sherries made from palomino (like the pretty horsie!) grapes, and dark sherries that have oxidised while aging in a barrel. One of those dark sherries is called Amontillado. Ooooh, isn’t that such a pretty name?
A grumpy old man named Edgar Allen Poe once wrote a little story about a barrel of Amontillado! It was a scary story about two people who didn’t like each other anymore! Don’t worry! The friends came to a solution, even though they decided to go separate ways. The Amontillado even helped! It was like a little hero, made out of a barrel and some grapes! Specifically grapes from Jerez! Don’t forget that, kids; that’s important!
By the time sherries are done fermenting and their little distilled spirit soldiers are all snuggled up in there, most sherries have an alcohol content of about 15 per cent, which is also called 30 proof. That’s what I call a little wine that packs a biiiiig punch!
In order to celebrate our learning today, I think we should all go out and buy some copitas, (which is Spanish for “little glass” isn’t that adorable?) and pour ourselves a Rebujito, which is sherry mixed with lemonade and ice. Doesn’t that just sound wonderful? Come on! Let’s go now!