Sherry wines - Vinos de Jerez - Manzanilla, Oloroso, Pedro Ximenez, Fino, Palo Cortado, Amontillado

Oloroso

Oloroso is aged in the absence of flor, in an oxidative way and starts from a selection of heavier, more full-structured musts than a Fino or Manzanilla (sometimes a second pressing of grapes). After fermentation the young wines are evaluated and the ones with a thicker body will be destined for maturation as Oloroso sherry.

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 to around 20-22 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. The heavier wines, more suited for oxidative ageing, are given a circular mark ‘o’ for Oloroso. Even courser, slightly unbalanced base wines would be given two or more rayas. These will age as olorosos of lesser quality, sometimes used for blending purposes, distillation or the production of sherry vinegar.

Oloroso character

Oloroso sherry often shows nutty aromas (especially walnuts), combined with polished / balsamic notes, subtle dried fruits, toasted hints, tobacco and autumn aromas. There are noticeable spicy notes in older examples. Often there are also subtle meaty hints, truffle and leather.

Though naturally dry, the relatively high strength and full body of an Oloroso (caused by glycerol) 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. Some of the best olorosos have been historically lightly sweetened but tend to loose this sweetness as they mature further. Nowadays the rules of the Denomination of Origin state that a wine needs to be fully dry in order to have Oloroso on the label.

Note that naturally sweet Olorosos also exist (usually vintage sherry), produced by cutting off the fermentation process before it is complete (hence leaving more residual sugars).

 

Appreciation

The classic pairing for an Oloroso would be red meat and game, but it will also be lovely with well-aged cheese. Read more about pairing Oloroso with food. It is served around 12-16°C.

 

Oloroso sherry reviews


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