The Washington Post

5 sherries to try

Columnist, Food

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Dave McIntyre writes about wine weekly. He also blogs at View Archive

Sherry is fortified, meaning its alcohol level is higher than normal. Sherries aged under flor — the yeast layer that protects them from oxygen — typically are fortified to 15.5 percent. Amontillados and palo cortados are aged under flor and then fortified again before aging, while exposed to air, while olorosos are fortified to higher levels (about 18 percent) that inhibit flor and leave the wines exposed to oxygen in the cask. They are all aged under the solera system, which blends new and old wines in a wonderful synergy.

El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 15 Años

★ ★ ★

Jerez, Spain, $15 (375 milliliters)

Bold and full, with wonderful flavors of roasted hazelnut and herbs. ABV: 18 percent.

Bacchus: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages; on the list at Barcelona, Mockingbird Hill, the Passenger, Jaleo. Available in Maryland at Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie; on the list at Jaleo in Bethesda.

Grant La Garrocha Amontillado

★ ★ ★

Jerez, Spain, $14 (375 milliliters)

Roasted hazelnut, orange peel, some hints of caramel, but definitely not sweet. Citrus adds complexity. An easy match for moderately spiced dishes. ABV: 18 percent.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Kogod Liquor; on the list at Jaleo, Mockingbird Hill, the Passenger, Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Available in Maryland at Chesapeake Wine Co. in Baltimore; on the list at Jaleo in Bethesda. 

Bodegas César Florido Fino

★ ★ 1 / 2

Jerez, Spain, $13 (375 milliliters)

Lively, with roasted hazelnuts and dried orange peel.

Bacchus: On the list in the District at Mockingbird Hill. Available in Maryland at North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits in Baltimore, the Wine Bin in Ellicott City. 

Bodegas Hildalgo La Gitana

★ ★ 1 / 2

Manzanilla, Spain $16 (500 milliliters)

The leading manzanilla in the United States, featuring delicate, briny flavors and impeccable balance. There is also a fine “en rama” (unfiltered) bottling, found mostly at restaurants. ABV: 15.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, DCanter, MacArthur Beverages, Wagshal’s Market; on the list at the Gibson, Jaleo, Mockingbird Hill, Red Hen, Taberna del Alabardero. Available in Maryland at Rodman’s (Wheaton, White Flint); on the list at Jaleo in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Oakton Wine Shop, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Fair Lakes). 

Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado

★ ★ 1 / 2

Jerez, Spain, $18

An excellent amontillado, featuring the nutty flavors and light body of a fino, with hints of candied fruit that come with additional aging and exposure to oxygen in the cask. Lustau makes a wide variety of sherries, all excellent and recommended, and with the best availability in the Washington region. ABV: 18.5 percent.

Elite: Widely available in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

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