Designated sherry glasses may not be something everyone owns. For many people sherry is associated with one of two things. One being what your Grandmother drinks at Christmas. The other being it as the drink of choice for brothers Frasier and Niles Crane in the hit TV show ‘Frasier’. However, to limit the world of sherry to such narrow templates is to do this delicious drink a real disservice.
If you’re new to sherry, then this article can introduce you to this unduly overlooked fortified wine. If you love your sherry, then this article can be a way for you to find the perfect sherry glasses to serve it in.
What Is Sherry Wine?
Sherry is a fortified wine produced from white grapes in the ‘Jerez-Xérès-sherry’ region, or the ‘sherry Triangle’. This is in the Southernmost point of Spain, in a region called Andalucía. Andalucia is home to well-travelled cities such as; Granada, Malaga and Seville.
Broadly speaking there are three types of sherry, to pour into your sherry glasses. The three types of sherry are as follows; Dry, Naturally Sweet and Sweet sherry. Dry sherry is made by allowing the fermentation process to complete entirely. Thereby leaving a comparatively small amount of residual sugar from the grapes. Famous examples of dry sherry include; Fino, Oloroso, Amontillado & Manzanilla.
Next is Naturally Sweet Sherry. With this variety, the fermentation process is purposefully stopped prematurely. This allows some of the natural sugar from the grapes to be retained. Therefore, leaving room for some residual sugar and natural sweetness. As well as this, the sweetest variety of grapes are used. Due to naturally sweet sherry being made from single grapes, they’ll have familiar names to wine drinkers. These are Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez.
The third group is simply ‘Sweet sherry’. ‘Sweet sherry’ is produced through the blending of the previous two types of sherry. This means that any multitude of tastes and types can fall into this broad category. For example all forms of Cream Sherry would fall under the umbrella of ‘Sweet sherry’.
How To Serve Sherry
Obviously, with as broad of a spectrum of types of sherry that we have discussed, not everything will necessarily be served the same way. We will discuss which sherry glasses are most fitting shortly. However, there are some broader rules which should put you on the fast track to enjoying your sherry before all else.
First things first, storing the sherry. Like wine, sherry is sensitive to the environment in which you keep it. Much like other fortified wines, and wine in general, sherry should be stored in a cool dark place. Yet, once you’ve opened a bottle, we recommend that light or dry sherries are refrigerated. This will prolong their shelf life for a further two weeks.
Almost all discerning Sherry aficionados’ would recommend chilling sherry before serving. This can often include chilling the sherry glasses prior to serving. Serving sherry with ice wouldn’t be necessary though, unless you’re opting for a cream sherry.
Finally, if you’re looking to line those sherry glasses up on the dinner table, there’s a few things to consider when pairing sherry with food. Pair drier types of sherry with tapa’s style savoury snacks like olives, nuts and Iberian cured ham. Dry sherry also pairs well with fish and shellfish. However, sweeter varieties are more akin to classic dessert wines. As such, they are best when paired with desserts. Cakes and soft cheese works really well. Indeed, a shot of Pedro Ximénez sherry over some ice cream is a great end to any meal.
Styles of Sherry Glasses
Now, let’s discuss the perfect type of sherry glasses to serve your drinks in. There are two main types of usual sherry glasses. The first is the ‘Clipper’. This is a small type of sherry glass. The second type of sherry glass is called a ‘Schooner’. Both these glasses take their names from the types of ship that used to import the sherry from Spain to the U.K and the far east.
Generally, the Schooner is what you’d think of when it comes to sherry glasses. They can be subtle variations to a Schooner. They are identifiable by the narrow bottom which expands towards the lip of the glass. The idea is that the smaller sherry glass with the wide rim allows for the sherry to still breathe, while promoting savouring of the drink as well.
The next thing to consider, after sherry glasses, would be a decanter. This addition to your sherry glasses is a very sound purchase. Decanters are good options for sherry. While fortified wines do not last indefinitely in a decanter, as say spirits would. They do have greater longevity than wine. Sherry shouldn’t stay in a decanter for longer than a week. This still provides plenty of time for the aromas and flavours to grow. Not only this, but I think a nice bottle of sherry would struggle to stay in the decanter for a whole week, for me personally.
Top Sherry Glass Brands
We’ve looked at what sherry is and the perfect glassware for sherry. The next thing to consider is what brands of sherry glasses you should be looking for. Here are some names to look out for the next time you’re shopping for sherry glasses.
If you want the best sherry glasses, or indeed glassware in general, the Riedel Wine Glass Company is the place to start. An overview of their history and products is available here. Riedel were the first company to design glassware specifically for wine. This was their ‘Sommeliers’ Range. Luckily, they’ve dipped their toe into the world of sherry glasses as well. Even their ‘Sommeliers’ Range has a sherry glass. They have a high price point but this is the gold standard of glassware.
Other leading glassware companies are also producing their own sherry glasses. Schott Zwiesel is a leading German crystalware company, which has been producing great glassware for nearly 150 years. They are soon to release their ‘Sherry “Jerez”’ glass. Again, this is the pricier end of the spectrum, but unmistakably a mark of quality.
There are options out there for if you don’t want to break the bank. Any number of high-street retailers offer sherry glasses, as well as us here at Savage Vines! These 6 high-quality González Byass Sherry Glasses are available for just £3.33 a glass!
Now, next time you’ll see a bottle of sherry you’ll be able to pick out the one that is just right for you. Not only this, hopefully, you’ll have the perfect sherry glasses and decanter to pour it into.
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