Fino is a dry, pale wine produced within the D.O. Jerez / Xéres / Sherry. It has an ABV between 15 and 18%.
Some of the most renowned Finos include Tio Pepe (Gonzalez Byass), La Ina (Lustau) and Inocente (Valdespino)
It is made from the Palomino grape and biologically aged, entirely under a layer of flor. This cap of yeast prevents contact with the air while at the same time transforming the wine as it ages. Maturation of at least 2 years in wooden barrels is prescribed by law. However the majority of Finos are aged between four and seven years.
Like Manzanilla, the slightly more delicate and more coastal variety of Fino from Sanlúcar, it is produced in a Solera system. That implies having different scales or criaderas and gradually refreshing lower (older) barrels with a part of the higher (younger) barrels. A typical Fino Solera contains between three and seven criaderas, consisting of American oak butts.
In 2021 Bodegas Ximénez-Spínola presented the first Fino sherry made from Pedro Ximénez grapes.
The maturation under flor results in a yeasty, saline flavour profile with notes of Mediterranean herbs, fresh dough and almonds. At around four years of age, Fino sherry shows bright notes of flor and minerals with a slightly sharp edge. On the other hand, older examples show more savoury complexity and less spikey salinity.
Types of Fino sherry
The flor in Fino barrels will usually live for about 7 to 10 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). This will cause the flor to gradually fade, slowly exposing the wine to oxygen. Depending on the stage of the flor, there are two classifications of Fino sherry:
- Fino is the traditional dry sherry, typically bottled around 3 to 5 years.
- Fino Antiguo is an older version in which the flor starts to fade, the counterpart of a Manzanilla Pasada. The minimum age is 7 years.
In the past there was a type of wine called Fino Amontillado or Fino Pasado, keeping the middle between Fino and Amontillado. However these names have been banned as it it hard to define this tipping point as a fixed amount of years. This style of wine is still seen on the market sometimes (e.g. Fino Perdido or Fino Tres Palmas), but it will now simply be called Fino or Fino Antiguo. Overall it’s usually darker and richer than a common Fino and it can reach up to 15 years of age under exceptional conditions.
Once the flor has broken down completely, the wine will be labeled as an Amontillado and continues to age oxydatively.
Fino sherry is a perfect aperitif and a flexible wine that can be paired to a wide variety of foods. In general the dry profile stimulates the taste buds and combines nicely with savoury, fatty 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, almonds, (fried) fish, seafood and Jamón Serrano, as well as with light cheese.
Fino sherry reviews
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