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Sherry, a True Taste of History

Sherry, a magical Spanish wine that has meandered through history with such force that it has played a central role in the works of literary geniuses such as Shakespeare and Poe. No other drink played such a central role in the colonization and exploration of the New World. When Magellan set out to circumnavigate the globe, his expenditures on Sherry were greater than those for weaponry for his entire voyage. As a fortified wine, it was better able to make the long journey across the oceans. As the first wine in the New World, Sherry remains vital in the world of wine today.

Traditional Sherry starts its life on the vines of the Cádiz region of Spain. It is made of three types of grapes native to the region, Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, and Muscat. After being hand harvested they are gently crushed to draw the first must. Only this first pressing that is used to produce Sherry, this ensures the highest quality of wine. The pressing is immediately set aside for fermentation.

After the initial fermentation, the new wine is tasted for quality and is divided into one of three categories. The lightest and palest of the wines will be set aside to be turned into Fino and Amontillado, the highest grade of Sherry. The slightly darker but still clean wine will be set aside to become Oloroso, a darker Sherry. The third category destined to become Sherry will require more development before its final product can be determined.

Once its destiny has been chose, the wine starts its journey through the solera, a cascade of barrels through which the wines will go. This is a journey that takes a long time, as each year some wine is went from one barrel to the next down the line. With a small part of the wine from the preceding year left in the barrel, these solera are passed down through the generations. A small amount of wine is always left in the last barrel, so through the years, the last barrel in the solera will still have a very small amount of the first wine ever place in it, this wine can sometimes be several hundred years ancient and helps to ensure a balanced and uniform product. A right taste of history!

Today, Sherry does not have the same importance it once did. I can guarantee that more is invested in arming a ship of the line today, than on Sherry in their larder. But, it is one of the most historic of the wine family, and one of the most versatile wines available today. Sherry can be served as an aperitif, drank alone, and also makes a fantastic addition to cooking, try this wine cake recipe from beyond-wine.com” target=”_blank www.beyond-wine.com.

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix 1 5oz box of instant vanilla pudding 3 Eggs Vegetable oil CREAM SHERRY (must be cream)

Set oven to 350

Grease and flour bundt pan

Mix all ingredients called for on the box and ½ the amount of water using the cream sherry for the other half. Bake about approx. 40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly and rim the edge with a thin knife before removing. Drizzle a glaze over the cake, powder sugar with a touch of lemon juice or vanilla.

I hope that this has enlightened you to the delights of Sherry, an Ancient World wine making inroads into the new millennium. Please visit www.beyond-wine.com” target=”_blank www.beyond-wine.com for wine accessories and everything you need to delight in your glass of Sherry, from glasses and decanters, to stoppers and pourers. For a limited time, get a barrel stave candleholder free with any buy of $150 or more.

Jason Brink is a wine enthusiast, amateur historian, and passionate web developer. His birth and rearing in one of the premier wine growing regions in California has led to a deep respect and reverence for the wine grape and all its myriad children. As the lead developer of Beyond-Wine.com Beyond-Wine.com he has expanded his knowledge of wine culture and his like of the wines.

Jason Brink also owns a graphic design and web development company, jasons-professional-graphics.com jasons-professional-graphics.com



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