Manzanilla is basically the same as Fino sherry but produced and matured around Sanlucar de Barrameda, closer to the sea than Jerez, and basically the only place where it is allowed to be made.
Some of the most renowned Manzanillas include La Gitana (Hidalgo), La Guita (Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin) and Solear (Barbadillo)
It is made from the Palomino grape and biologically aged, entirely under a layer of flor yeast. Its location is responsible for a higher humidity and cooler, more constant temperatures than those found in inland bodegas, which contributes to a higher yield of flor. The thicker layer of flor protects the wine even more from air contact, resulting in a slightly lighter variety of Fino, containing virtually no glycerol and combining dry, saline notes with a fresh, zesty liveliness. Manzanilla typically displays more coastal aromas than a Fino, like seaspray, salt or even iodine. In Spanish, manzanilla is chamomile, which is another aroma typically found in this type of sherry.
Like Fino, Manzanilla is produced in a Solera system, but it typically has more scales than their Fino counterparts. Barbadillo’s Solear has ten criaderas for example, and the Solera that produces La Gitana has fourteen. It is typically released at a younger age than Fino, but the best Manzanilla examples are still between four to seven years of age.
Types of Manzanilla
The flor in Manzanilla barrels will usually live for about 6 to 8 years. At that point there is not enough material left in the wine to survive (the sugar content of the wine will be below 5 grams per litre), and the flor gradually fades, slowly exposing the wine to oxygen. Depending on the stage of the flor, there are different classifications of Manzanilla:
- Manzanilla (sometimes Manzanilla Fina to differentiate from the Manzanilla Pasada) is the traditional Manzanilla sherry, typically bottled around 3 to 5 years. Maturation of at least 2 years is prescribed by law.
- Manzanilla Pasada is a richer, older Manzanilla in which the flor starts to fade (usually around 6 to 7 years). Until recently, some of the popular Manzanillas like La Gitana or La Guita were released as a Manzanilla Pasada, but due to their popularity and the consumer’s preference for a lighter style, nowadays they are bottled as younger wines.
- Manzanilla Amontillada is a Manzanilla in which the flor has died (usually between 8 and 12 years), gaining some Amontillado character due to oxygen contact.
- Manzanilla Oloroso is a rare type of Manzanilla which had extended aging without flor.
Manzanilla is a perfect aperitif or accompaniment to a wide variety of foods. It is best served chilled – depending on the producer, a temperature of between 4°C and 9°C will be suggested. It goes particuluarly well with olives, (fried) fish, seafood and Jamon Serrano. Manzanilla is also an excellent combo with sushi and it makes a great, refreshing spritzer / cocktail called Rebujito (1/3 Manzanilla mixed with 2/3 Sprite or Canada Dry).
Manzanilla sherry reviews
- San León (Argüeso)
- Las Medallas (Argüeso)
- Manzanilla 17|71 (Alexander Jules)
- Riá Pitá (Dios Baco)
- Solear En Rama – Verano 2013 (Barbadillo)