Jerez wines are rated amongst some of the best in the world.
The crianza biológica is a very pure wine and the finos and manzanillas of Sanlúcar are world famous. The wine is produced from the palomino or palomino fino grape, a plump white grape with fine green/yellow skin, and usually reaches maturity with 12 -13º of potential alcohol content.
Prior to fermentation, the grape juice is fairly light and not very fruity, the degree of lightness dependent upon the type of land where the vine is cultivated.
Once fermented, the wine is then fortified to 15,5º and left to mature in barrels stored in the coolest part of the wine cellars. Maturing is a slow process and gradually the wine changes flavour.
The wines have varying tastes, some wines taste slightly woody, others a little salty or have a flavour of olive or toasted almonds. At the beginning of the process there is almost no aroma but over time this becomes stronger as the smell of yeast, wood, sea salt and dried fruit emerges.
The wine starts life a yellow/green colour, but changes from year to year from pale gold to almost transparent with a glint of yellow. The strength of this type of wine makes it an ideal aperitif and should be served chilled.
The crianza oxidativa wines fall under the generic term of ‘Olorosos’. They are also produced from the palomino grape, but whereas the crianza biológica is light and fine, the Olorosos are heavier and have a stronger flavour.
After fermentation the wine is fortified up to approximately 20º and left to mature. Unlike the crianza biológica wines, this wine is not stored in the coolest and most humid areas of the wine cellar but it is left to mature in the patios of the bodegas.
Slowly but surely the wine becomes stronger in colour and flavour and it is then put into barrels already containing older wine. It is now that the real ageing process begins.
When wine is removed from one of these barrels, the next wine in vintage is then added to that barrel.
Sherry (medium, medium-dry, medium-sweet and cream) is produced when a sweet wine is added. This is done in order to remove the dryness and acid taste of the pure Oloroso.
Crianza mixta sherry
Crianza mixta sherry is a combination of the two above mentioned ageing processes. The wine is fortified to approximately 15º and is then left to mature in the same manner as the crianza biológica.