Sherry types

Sherry is a fortified wine, produced in Spain’s sherry triangle. Located in the province of Andalucia, this triangle consists of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. The soil in this region is chalk / limestone based, and provides the perfect conditions for growing the Palomino grape, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel, the three grapes used for making sherry wine.

Read more about the production of sherry, or essential elements like flor, the solera system or the terroir of the sherry region.

Depending on your source, you will find there are two types of sherry, or three, four, eight, ten or eleven. It all depends on your angle.


Different types of sherry, from crisp Fino to sweet Pedro Ximénez


Major styles of sherry

Sherry can be dry or sweet.

Contrary to what most people think, the majority of sherry is dry. It is basically an aged white wine. Within the dry sherry category, there are two major styles: those that are biologically aged (under a layer of flor yeast – Fino / Manzanilla type) and those that are oxidatively aged (in absence of flor – Oloroso type). Two intermediate styles exist (Amontillado and Palo Cortado), they start as a biologically aged wine but loose their layer of flor at a certain point and continue their maturation in the oxidative way. All of these wines are made from the Palomino grape.

When it comes to sweet sherry, the most important difference is the fact that it can be naturally sweet or “artificially” sweetened by blending dry styles of sherry with sweet wines or grape syrup. Naturally sweet sherry is called Vino dulce natural in Spanish. It can be produced from Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel grapes that are harvested late and usually dried in the sun before being pressed. The blended sweet sherries on the other hand are called Vino generoso de Licor – they start from a base of dry Palomino wines, to which PX or Moscatel is added, or arrope, a syrup made of grape juice that is cooked and highly concentrated.


Sherry types in detail

For more specific information about the most important styles of sherry, follow the links below:

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  • NIPPER_Amsterdam_NL

    Dear Ruben,

    You are writing about 8 different types of sherry, but there are actually 10 official types:

    1. Fino
    Clear, straw-colored, dry, light and fragrant. Contains 15 to 17% alcohol by volume.
    2. Amontillado
    Certain hazelnut flavor. Contains 16 to 18% alcohol by volume.
    3. Oloroso
    Dark, golden color. Strong, but light. Contains 18 to 20% alcohol by volume.
    4. Palo Cortado
    Between Amontillado and Oloroso. Contains 18 to 20% alcohol by volume.
    5. Raya
    Part of the Oloroso group, but less delicate.
    6. Pedro Ximenez
    Sweet, made with raisins, it has a very high alcohol content and is very aromatic.
    More Info
    7. Moscatel
    Sweet raisin wine. This wine is produced in Malaga and is warm and sweet, and has a dark color.
    8. Cream
    Very sweet wine. Made by adding alcohol to “must” that has just begun to ferment. Must is the juice of freshly crushed grapes before fermented into wine. It can include skins, pulp and and seeds. A good dessert wine.
    9. Color
    Made by fermenting fresh must and adding concentrated must.
    10. Manzanilla
    This type is produced in Sanlucar de Barrameda. It is very pale and dry. It contains 15 to 17% alcohol by volume.

    Cheers !

    Hans Stok.

    PS: Are you deleting comments and not responding to them, since I posted the above already a few days ago on your site, but I can not find it back and I can not find my comment inwhich I am informing you about the The Great Sherry Tasting on 30 september 2013 in Amsterdam ?

  • SherryNotes

    Hans, first of all, your information is incorrect. I contacted you about this on your GMail address (the one connected to your Discuss account). Rayas and vinos de color are not part of the latest official classification, see

    Secondly, comments that are posted in totally unrelated articles, might be deleted. I suppose you don’t read that e-mail address then?

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