As of the end of 2010 there will be no more sherry in Australia. It will instead be called ‘ Apera ’. This is the new name for Australian-made sherry . Similar to earlier assertions of region-specific naming rights (for example Champagne and Burgundy) the International Wine Agreement, signed between Australia and the European Commission, outlaws the use of traditional European terms by producers outside the region’s traditional boundaries. We should also start to see the names to describe the various styles (fino, oloroso, amontillado etc.) disappear in the not to distant future.
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes grown near the town of Jerez, in Andalusia, Spain - an area known as the Sherry triangle. The name ‘sherry’ is actually an anglicization of ‘Jerez’ and the region has officially been named D.O Jerez-Xeres-Sherry .
After fermentation is complete, sherry is fortified with brandy. Because the fortification takes place after fermentation, most sherries are initially dry, with any sweetness being added later. It is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to darker and heavier versions known as olorosos, all made from the Palomino grape. Sweet dessert styles are also made from Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel grapes.
What makes sherry, and particularly fino sherry, so unique is the use of flor yeast and the solera system. After standard white winemaking procedures, the wines are transferred into casks, which are only partly filled. The wine in each cask is then seeded with a special yeast (flor yeast) and stored for one or two years. Because the casks are only partly filled, the wine’s upper surface is exposed to air - providing ideal growing conditions for the flor yeast. As the yeast grows it forms a film across the liquid’s surface. In essence, due to this, the wine retains a greenish colour and freshness, and at the same time develops its characteristic nutty aroma and flavour. After a number of years, selected wines are transferred to the upper stage of a solera.
In simple terms a solera is a system of fractional blending. Casks of wine are arranged in a pyramid-like stack with the youngest wine in the top layer casks and the oldest wine in the bottom layer cask. At bottling time, the wine to be bottled is removed from casks in the bottom layer of the solera, taking only a small portion. Then each cask is refreshed from the layer above. This results in a progressive mixing of young wine with older wine, a process known as ‘refreshing the wine'.
Amontillado is initially made this way before being transferred to full casks, where it gradually loses its fresh fino character and begins to develop aged rancio characteristics. Oloroso styles of sherry are not influenced by flor growth. These fortified wines are stored in casks in a solera system for many years developing their characteristic rich and complex flavours.
In the past, sherry had an unfortunate image as something only your Grandma would drink - or use to make her favourite Christmas trifle! Thankfully this is slowly changing. Companies, such as Seppeltsfield in the Barossa, are helping create a new wave of sherry appreciation - producing a range of styles that are perfect on their own or with a range of dishes. Numerous restaurants now go out of their way to suggest a glass of sherry, and a wide variety of eager customers are discovering the combined delights of tapas and apera!
A complex amalgam of figs, raisins, plum pudding fill the glass. This is a serious drink, having been aged through the Solera system for a minimum of 30 years. This is a must for any connisseur.
Dan Murphy's supports the Responsible Service of Alcohol. New South Wales: Liquor Act 2007. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years.Victoria: WARNING: Victoria Liquor Control Reform Act 1998: It is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $7,000), for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $600). WARNING. Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence: to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on licensed or regulated premises; or for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase, or attempt to purchase, liquor on licensed or regulated premises.South Australia: Liquor Licensing Act 1997, Section 113. Liquor must NOT be supplied to persons under 18. Queensland: Under the Liquor Act 1992, it is an offence to supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years. For more specific legislation in your state or territory visit our Liquor Licensing Acts page. ABN 88 000 014 675.