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

Manzanilla

Manzanilla is a dry white wine, almost identical to Fino sherry except for the fact that it can only be produced and matured around Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a town closer to the sea than Jerez. The climatic differences make it lighter than Fino wines.

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. The specific climatic conditions of Sanlúcar are responsible for a higher humidity and cooler, more constant temperatures than those found in inland bodegas, which contribute to a higher yield of flor all year round.

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 three to seven years of age.

 

Manzanilla character

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, salty touches or even a hint of iodine.

In Spanish, manzanilla means chamomile, which is an aroma typically found in this type of sherry. Nonetheless the name of the wine supposedly comes from the eponymous village in the D.O. Huelva, a neighbouring winemaking area, on the other side of the Parque Nacional Doñana.

 

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.

 

Appreciation

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 Jamón Serrano. Manzanilla is also an excellent combo with sushi and it makes a great, refreshing spritzer / cocktail called Rebujito.

 

Manzanilla sherry reviews


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