Oloroso is aged in the absence of flor, in an oxidative way and starts from a selection of heavier musts than a Fino or Manzanilla (sometimes a second pressing of grapes). Traditionally the base wines would be evaluated after fermentation in casks, but as nowadays this is done in steel containers so there is much less variation. To create an Oloroso the base wine will be fortified to 17 or 18 degrees which makes it impossible for flor yeasts to survive in these casks. Due to evaporation known as merma (about 3-5% in volume each year), the resulting Oloroso will grow more concentrated and around 20-24 degrees.
Oloroso means fragrant and the best examples will display dried fruits, leather, polished wood and exotic spices
Traditionally, after fermentation, the base wines would be classified with specific signs on the cask, according to their finesse. Good, delicate wines suited for biological ageing were given a raya, a stick or vertical line. For particularly excellent base wines, the cellarmaster would add a little wave to form a palma, a palm branch. Slightly heavier wines more suited for oxidative ageing are given a circular mark ‘o’. Courser, less balanced base wines would be given two or more rayas. These will age as olorosos of lesser quality, used for blending purposes.
Though naturally dry, the relatively high strength and full body of an Oloroso will give it an impression of roundness and even sweetness. It may be lightly sweetened by adding a bit of Pedro Ximénez (Amoroso or Abocado sherry), but this practice is much rarer than it once was. The best olorosos are lightly sweetened and then left to mature further. This will result in a nicely integrated, light sweetness. Note that naturally sweet Olorosos also exist (usually vintage sherry), by cutting off the fermentation process before it is complete (hence leaving more residual sugars).
The classic pairing for an Oloroso would be red meat and game, but it will also be lovely with well-aged cheese. It is served around 15-16°C.
Oloroso sherry reviews
- Almacenista Oloroso ‘Pata de Gallina’ (Lustau)
- Collection Oloroso 12 years (Williams & Humbert)
- Harveys Rich Old Oloroso V.O.R.S.
- Matusalem Oloroso Dulce VORS (Gonzalez Byass)
- Oloroso 15 años (El Maestro Sierra)
- Oloroso Añada 1990 (Lustau)
- Oloroso Añada 1997 (Lustau)
- Oloroso Baco Imperial VORS (Dios Baco)
- Oloroso Ochavico (Garvey)