Sherry dates back thousands of years. In the 16th century, William Shakespeare paid tribute to it in the Falstaff monologue in Henry IV. Four centuries later, artisanal producers, such as Maestro Sierra, the first sherry cellar in Spain managed by a woman, are paying their own tribute by producing sherries with long legacies and renewed flavour.

Modern Recipe

  • Step 1
    Palomino grape harvesting

    The Palomino grape harvest usually occurs at the end of August or early September. Workers take the grape bunches to the winemaking cellar and press out the must, a mix of juice, skins, seeds, and stems. They condition it to achieve the desired aroma and desilt it.

  • Step 2

    Winemakers ferment the must, obtaining a white wine that is 11-12% alcohol by volume, delicate, totally dry, lightly fruited, and not very acid. This is called the base wine.

  • Step 3
    The fork in the road

    Then winemakers will do different things depending on which wine they are trying to make: Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado or Palo cortado.

  • Step 4

    Bodegas Maestro Sierra follows the traditional solera system to age its wines.

  • Step 5

    Winemakers store the wine in American oak casks stacked three high. They periodically extract wine from some of the casks to top up others. The winemakers only ever remove about a quarter of the wine from the bottom, or solera, casks for bottling. They refill the solera casks with wine from the middle row of casks, which is called the 'first nursery'. The winemakers refill those casks from the top row, the 'second nursery'. Finally, they top up the top casks with new base wine.

  • Step 6
    The ancient and the new: the mix.

    The solera system is why Sherry wine almost never has a vintage printed on it: each bottle has a unique mix of vintages from different years that have matured together to create a homogeneous wine. The older the cellar, the older and more valuable the original mix that ages the new wine.

Vindicación del vino
de Jerez

Vindicación del vino is based on a lecture by Dr. Francisco Revueltas Montel about the hygienic and therapeutic value of Sherry wine, given at the Regional Medical Sciences Conference in Cádiz in August 1879. The speech praises the wine and the land where it is produced. The report was prepared at the behest of the Sherry-making González-Byass family and edited and published by the Jerez Medico-Surgical Academy.

See the book