SHERRY: a "white" wine made from grapes grown in and around Xeres, Anda lusia, Spain, its name being an English attempt to say Xeres—"Sherries." The process of manufacture is ex ceedingly simple and one in which scien tific principles, as now understood, have never entered. After the grapes are pressed in the Lagar, or Wine Press, the resultant Mosto (Must) ferments in the open air and is subsequently transferred to Bodegas (Cellars) for storage. There it is again allowed free contact with the atmosphere in the process of its devel opment, older wine being added from time to time to take the place of that lost by evaporation. New crude wine ranges be tween 12% and 14% in alcoholic content. Blending and fortification result in the strength of the sherry sent to the Ameri can market averaging about 19%.
The product of the various vineyards varies little in essential characteristics when first fermented, but within twelve months most marked differences arise, developing eventually into types widely distinct, such as Raya, Fin°, Palma, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, etc.
Raya signifies a fairly full and slightly coarse wine; Fino, a light-colored, pale, delicate wine of fine aroma; Palma, a wine approximating to Fino but with a higher degree-of delicacy and bouquet; Oloroso, a full bodied, highly-developed, darker-col ored wine. Palo Cortado is more difficult to describe, but may be classed as in style between Fino and Oloroso. Oloroso—a highly-prized product of the vineyards of Xeres—is found in less quantity than the other types and is ordinarily subjected to a separate subdivision by experts.
Classified as Raya, Fino, etc., each "Anada," or vintage, is held until the time comes for its being passed through "Soleras." The word Solera, literally translated,
signifies "Base" or "Plinth." In sherry-making, "soleras" are the stored mature "Mother Wines" added to the younger product and gradually imparting their special characteristics to it—the distinctive merit of a Solera being thus, as it were, handed down through many vinous generations.
The bulk of the sherry marketed is blended from various Soleras in proportions that differ according to the desired style and quality, but some are shipped in their natural state, Fino, Oloroso, etc., and as such appeal to many connoisseurs. Sweeten ing, color and flavoring are frequently added.
Although Xeres is the seat of Sherry production, other districts not far distant contribute wines of similar character which are ordinarily known by the same title. Among these, the most prominent is the vicinity of San Lucar, where is made the renowned Manzanilla, a very pale, delicate product of the Fino type but with less body, and possessing the slight Camomile flavor from which its name is derived. Montilla is another outlying district which has produced several vintages of the very highest merit and commanding high prices. Its value may be judged by the fact that the word "Amontillado," which stands for one of the best qualities of Xeres wines, signifies "of Montilla style." Among the best known of the num erous titles associated with high class sherries in the American market are Amontillado, Oloroso, Fino, Manzanilla, Vino de Pasto, Solera, Palma, etc.
Invalid Sherry signifies an especially carefully selected high grade variety.