Õåðåñ, Jerez, Xérès, Sherry wine

Sherry wine

Sherry analogues brief

Olga Nikandrova and Denis Shumakov.

The term “sherry analogues” we shall apply to wines which have at least one technological (flor, dinamical ageing) or marketing (sherry words in the name) meeting point with proper sherries.

A large number of sherry analogues are produced in the Jerez region itself. Among other things, it’s an obvious consequence of the fact that sherry may be matured only in certain towns of the region. There’s a number of full (in raw materials and in technologies used) analogues which cannot be named sherries. Amontillado from Lebrija or Oloroso from Trebujena are rare to meet outside their native towns — but the more it’s interesting to find and taste the ones. In addition to full sherry analogues there’s still a large number partial analogues produced within the Jerez region — they can be produced from a different grape variety, but in compliance with other sherry technologies, for example.

Similarities to sherry Dissimilarities from sherry
Full analogues from the Jerez region Sherry technologies are used (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor yeasts — when needed). Sherry grape varieties are used (Palomino, P.X., Moscatel). Sherry names are used for labeling types of wine. Ageing is done outside the Ageing and Maturing Zone. The name “jerez” is not used.
Partial analogues from the Jerez region Sherry technologies are used (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor yeasts — when needed). Sherry names are used for labeling types of wine. Other grape varieties are used. Ageing is done outside the Ageing and Maturing Zone. The name “jerez” is not used.
Tintilla de Rota Sherry technologies are partially used (fortification, dinamical ageing). Another grape variety (Tintilla de Rota). The name “jerez” is not used.

The Jerez Region as is known lies in Andalusia, where, besides “Jerez — Xérès — Sherry” D.O. and “Manzanilla — Sanlúcar de Barrameda” D.O., there are three more D.O. which produce wine with interest to us (in general, there are more D.O.-s in Andalusia, and not only the wine ones, but here we are speaking only about sherry analogues, aren’t we?). In Cordoba (to the right and up from the province of Cadiz, where sherry is produced) there is Montilla-Moriles D.O. In Huelva (left and upwards) — Condado de Huelva D.O. In Malaga (almost straight to the right) — Málaga D.O. All these regions, including the Jerez region, are historically, technologically and culturally related to one another and, naturally, produce similar wines.

Similarities to sherry Dissimilarities from sherry
Sherry-esque wines from Montilla-Moriles D.O. Sherry technologies are used (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor yeasts — when needed). Partially sherry grape varieties are used (P.X., Moscatel). Sherry names are used for labeling types of wine. For the production of dry wines of biological and oxidative ageing P.X. grape variety is used. Wines are not fortified before flor ageing. The name “jerez” is not used.
Málaga D.O. Sherry technologies are partially used (fortification, dinamical ageing). Partially sherry grape varieties are used (P.X., Moscatel). To retain sugar, fortification is used before and during fermentation. Their own names are used for labeling types of wine based on the maturation time, color and other criteria.
D.O. Condado de Huelva Sherry technologies are used (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor yeasts — when needed). Among others sherry grape varieties are used (P.X., Moscatel). Sherry names are used for labeling types of wine. Non-sherry grape varieties are actively used. Different grape varieties can be blended. The name “jerez” is not used.

Ageing wine under a layer of yeasts is not unique to Spain. In some wine regions this technique has evolved independently and became a key stage of the production of very interesting wines, in which, if desired, one can find similarities to biologically aged dry sherries. Wine is aged under a film of yeasts in France (mainly, vin jaune from Jura) and Hungary (Száraz Tokaji Szamorodni).

Similarities to sherry Dissimilarities from sherry
Vin Jaune. France, Jura Wine undegoes long maturation under a film of yeasts (voile). A different grape variety is used (Savagnin). No fortification. No dinamical ageing. French oak barrels (unlike American oak used for sherry). Different names and different classification is used.
Száraz Tokaji Szamorodni. Hungary, Tokaj Wine is aged under a film of yeasts. Different grape varieties are used (Furmint and other tipical for Tokaji varieties). No fortification. No dinamical ageing. Botrytis-affected grapes are used for the wine production. Different names are used.

Some fortified wines of absolutely different quality produced in different parts of the world nowadays were initially created as sherry-replicas. Almost all these wines at early stages of their existence were even labeled “sherries” (either in English or in Russian). By now, many sherry-esque wines have changed their names and do not come into collision with Spanish sherry names. But some haven’t been renamed — so, it is still possible to find in the market bottles labeled as sherry but having no relation to the Jerez Region.

Similarities to sherry Dissimilarities from sherry
Soviet sherries The wine is fortified and contacts with film-forming yeast. The Russian word for sherry (õåðåñ [‘heres]) is used for labeling. Different grape varieties are used, and, mostly, a specific production technology and specific equipment are used. Dinamical ageing isn’t used.
The US sherry analogues In high-quality wine production all sherry technologies (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor — if necessary) and sherry grape varieties (Palomino, Moscatel) are used. For low-quality wine marketing the word Sherry is often used. For high-quality wine marketing the word Sherry and sherry classification are not used. In low-quality wine production specific technologies (the Tressler process, for example) and non-sherry grape varieties are used.
New Zealand sherry-esque wines In high-level wine production all sherry technologies (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor — if necessary) and sherry grape varieties (Palomino, Moscatel) are used. The word Sherry and names of sherry types are used for labeling. Very tentatively, there are no technological or marketing dissimiliarities with sherry. But there are qualitative ones.
Sherry analogues in Australia (Apera) In high-level wine production all sherry technologies (fortification, dinamical ageing, flor — if necessary) and sherry grape varieties (Palomino, Moscatel) are used. The word Apera is used for labeling.

Finally, there is Vin du Glacier or Gletscherwein from Switzerland. Which, due to its exoticness, deserves a separate table.

Similarities to sherry Dissimilarities from sherry
Vin du Glacier, Gletscherwein. Switzerland, Valais Dinamical ageing is used. Different grape varieties are used. No fortification. Wine is matured in cold cellars in larch barrels. Specific name is used.

And then there are Italian Marsala wines and sherry-esque wine from South Africa, which we didn’t get around to yet. But soon we will.

We in no way consider sherries proper and sherry analogues (whatever reasons there were in their appearing) as categories which should be opposed to each other. It is interesting to taste them and compare, taking sherry for a reference material and an absolute flagship product of the amazing and diverse part of wine culture associated with fortification, film-forming yeasts, solera system and raisined grapes.

Sherry analogues reviewed on the website (in Russian only):
Frédéric Lornet Arbois Vin Jaune 2004
Cruz Conde Pale Cream
Bodegas San Sebastián Mariana Cream
Bodegas San Sebastián Oloroso Seco
Bodegas San Sebastián Moscatel Blanco
Bodegas San Sebastián Fino La Barrosa
Alvear Pedro Ximénez Solera
Alvear Fino CB
Moscatel Gloria Naranja
Bodegas J. Ferris M. Tintilla de Rota
Tintilla de Rota J. Martínez
Õåðåñ Ìàññàíäðà 2007
Õåðåñ Ìàññàíäðà 1972
Õåðåñ ßëîâåíü Ñóõîé 1994
Don PX Gran Reserva 1982
Alvear's Fino
Alvear Moscatel
Quady Winery Palomino Fino
Îðåàíäà õåðåñ ñóõîé
Bourgeoisie de Grimentz Vin du Glacier 1888
Mémoire d’Automnes
S' PX Solera 1989
Malaga Cruz
Gran Barquero Amontillado
André et Mireille Tissot Vin Jaune 2007 «En Spois»
André et Mireille Tissot Vin Jaune 2007 «Les Bruyères»
André et Mireille Tissot Château Chalon 2007
André et Mireille Tissot Vin Jaune 2007 «La Vasée»
Château l’Etoile Vin Jaune 2005
Château Dereszla Száraz Tokaji Szamorodni 2003
Mazuran’s Amontillado Dry Sherry
Fino Cobos
Øàáî Êëàññèêà Õåðåñ
Alvear Oloroso Asunción
Shervin (Heres) Armonios De Calitate Matur. Rezerva 1994
La Vinyeta Sereno Solera 2009


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