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Sherry, Port, & Madeira


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Principal soil types for Sherry
Albariza- Best soils for Sherry. 62% of region. High chalk content. Muddy when wet, forms a hard, moisture-protecting layer when dry.Three sub-districts of Albariza soils. Chlorosis can be a problem due to high lime.
Arena- Sand and yields higher quantities of lower quality wine.
Barro- High clay content produces coarser, fuller-bodied wines
Grape varieties allowed in Sherry production
Palomino- planted on Albariza. Makes up 90% of all plantings Two types- Palomino de Jerez and Palomino Fino (better of the two)
Pedro Ximenez- Planted on barro and Arena.
Moscatel- Planted on poorest Barro and Arena
List the grape varieties allowed in Port production
Reds: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesca/Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão.
Whites: Malvasia, Moscatel
Port terms:
Vinha ao Alto
Traditional lagares
Socalcos- Retaining walls
Patamares- Countoured packed earth
Vinha ao Alto- Wire training up hillsides
Traditional lagares- Concrete troughs where grapes are tread with human feet
Remontagem- Pumping over with pums
Aguardente- a 77% alcohol grape-only spirit, added to arrest fermentation
Madeira styles and grapes
Sercial- Driest
Verdelho- Medium-dry style
Bual- Rich and medium-sweet
Malmsey- Sweetest style (grape is Malvasia)
Madeira Aging:

Special Reserve
Extra Reserve
Reserve- 5+ years
Special Reserve- 10+ years
Extra Reserve- 15+ years
Vintage- From one of the main 4 grapes, 20 years in cask and 2 in bottle.
Beneficio Grading System
Port. Similar to Champagne's system.

-Vineyards are classified from A to E, based on a points system. Points are awarded for: Altitude, yield, soil, aspect, vine variety and age, slope, training system, locality, and vine density.
-This classification determines the volume of Port allowed to be produced and the price paid for it.
Port vinification process
-After maceration, the juice is run off, which is now 4-8% alcohol.
-Aguardente, a 77% abv grape-only spirit, is added to kill yeast and arrest fermentation. Usually one part Aguardent to four parts wine. Since 19990, shippers have a choice of spirit, which can come from anywhere in the EU.
-Press wine is added to the mix.
Port maturation stages
First stage: From harvest to the end of winter. First tasting and first selection.

Second stage: Wood or stainless steel. Second tasting before the next harvest.

Third Stage: Vintage versus non-vintage. Further aging and determination of style.
Port shipping
In the spring following fortification, Port is shipped up the Douro to the Port Lodges in Oporto (Vila Nova de Gaia), traditionally by Barcos Rabelos but now usually by trucks. The wine is then aged in Pipes (a 550-liter cask, twice the size of a barrique).
Port Styles (pt. 1):
-Tawny with I.o.A.
⬢ White: White grapes fermented with skins. Non-vintage, and may be either dry or sweet.
⬢ Ruby: Young, non-vintage. Usually sold after 3 year aging in wood. Early drinking.
⬢ Tawny: Long period of cask aging, usually 5-7 years.
⬢ Tawny with I.o.A.: Only 10, 20, 30, or 40. Years represent the style of Port, not the minimum age. Producers must a sufficient stock of older Port for this to be a realistic undertaking.
Port Styles (pt. 2):
-Late Bottled Vintage
⬢ Colheita: Tawny Port from a single vintage. Minimum 8 years in cask. Bottle will show vintage and bottling date.
⬢ Vintage: Ruby Port from a single declared vintage. Aged for 2-3 years in cask, and meant to further age in bottle. Highest quality Port, and develops very slowly. One of the longest-lasting wines in the world.
⬢ Late Bottled Vintage: Ruby Port from a single un-declared vintage. Ages in cask for longer than vintage Port. Traditionally 4 years, but modern approach is closer to 6 years.
Port Styles (pt. 3):
-Single Quinta
-Vintage Character
⬢ Single Quinta: Ruby Port from a single vintage and single vineyard, usually the flagship vineyard. Usually from an undeclared vintage. Will develop in a bottle like a vintage Port.
⬢ Crusted: A British specialty, this is a high quality Ruby Port that is bottled young and throws sediment. It develops a crust while aging. Not an officially declared style.
⬢ Vintage Character: Ruby Port from several, blended vintages. Generally aged for about 5 years, and ready to drink when bottled.
Port Term. Bottle size equivalent to 3 standard bottles (2.273 liters). Aka 'Mary-Jean'.
Port Wanna-Be's (Old World)
⬢ Moscatel de Setúbal: From the Muscat of Alexandria grape. A rich, pale orange Muscat that is lightly fortified and perfumed by the long maceration with the aromatic Muscat skins after fortification. The best are cask-aged.
⬢ Commandaria: From the Cyprus-Troodos mountains. The legendary liquorous wine (extremely concentrated, with four times as much sugar as Port). Made from Local Mavro (black) and Xynisteri (white) grapes, sun-dried, and solera-aged.
⬢ Vin Doux Naturels: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Rasteau, Rivesaltes, Banyuls Maury, Rancio.
Port Wanna-Be's (New World)
⬢ Australia: Liqueur Muscat, Rutherglen.
⬢ South Africa: KWV
⬢ North America: Whidbey Island, Essencia, Elysium.
Mistela: Mixture of grape juice and alcohol. Fermentation is arrested before it begins. Approximately 18% alcohol. Most common examples are: Pineau des Charentes, Floc de Gascogne, and Ratafia de Champagne.
Wood-Aged Port Styles
Ready to drink upon release.

• White Port (dry): Aged 2-3 years before release.
• Ruby Port: 3-6 years aging.
• Vintage Character: Ruby from several blended vintages, aged 5 years.
• LBV: Specific (undeclared) vintage, 4-6 years cask aging.
• Tawny: Blend of years (aged 5-7 years).
• Tawny with indication of age: Only 10, 20, 30, or 40 years – average, not minimum, age of wines in bottle.
• Colheita: Vintage Tawny, minimum 8 years in cask.
Bottle-Aged Port Styles
To be aged after release.

⬢ Vintage: One year, best vineyards, need 20+ years, not declared every vintage. Usually 5 years out of every 10. Sees 2-3 years wood before being bottled.
⬢ Single Quinta: Single (usually undeclared) vintage from single vineyard, usually the flagship vineyard.
⬢ Crusted Port: Ruby Port, not official, develops crust while aging.
Two important Jerez winds
-Levante: hot and grape-baking

-Poniente: wet, from the Atlantic
Albariza sub-districts ??
Need to know sub-districts?
Sherry Vinification (pt. 1):
-Pedro Ximenez handling
-Palomino handling
-PX grapes spread out in the sun to increase sugar content. Plastic tunnels have replaced traditional grass mats. These raisinated grapes are then fermented. Very high potential alcohol, but left with RS. Fortification not always needed.

-Palomino is pressed immediately to reduce oxidation. Free run and first press juice is used for top quality sherry (70%); the next pressings are used for Oloroso (20%). The balance is sent for distillation (10%). Max permitted yield of 72.5 liters/100 kg grapes. Gypsum classically sprinkled on grapes (antiseptic; precipitates tartaric acids; increases acidity). This practice was recently stopped.
Sherry Vinification (pt. 2):
-Fermentation takes place in stainless or traditional 600 liter oak butts between 25º-30°. This creates aldehydes with ‘Sherry character’. Palomino grapes are always fermented to completely dry.
-After fermentation each tank or cask is tasted and classified. Classification depends on the amount of flor formation. There are two classifications: Fino and Oloroso.
Sherry Vinification (pt. 3):
-Mitad y Mitad
-After classification, the wine is fortified with Mitad y Mitad (½ 95% spirit, ½ old wine): Finos to 15.5% (optimum for flor) and Olorosos to 18% (too high for flor development).

-Finished wine is matured in a solera system using fractional blending to maintain consistency from year to year. House style takes precedence over vintage variability. 5 years for Finos, up to 10 yrs for Amontillados, up to 25 yrs for premiums.
-The wine is fortified before bottling to compensate for loss of strength during aging. Sweetening also takes place to produce the desired style. Cold stabilization, fining, and filtration are utilized immediately prior to bottling.
Sherry terms:

-Run the Scales!
-Anada: Young, unblended wine.

-Criadera: Levels in the solera.

-Solera: The oldest criadera. Wine is bottled from the solera stage. A maximum of 1/3 is drawn out at a time.

-Run the Scales! Continual topping up 3 times a year for a period of years depending on Bodega and style.
Important Towns for Sherry Production
-Puerto de Santa Maria
-Sanlucar de Barrameda
-Jerez de la Fronterra
Styles of Sherry:

-Fino: Both a classification and style. Light, dry, and delicate with pungent flor aromas. Must be drunk young.
-Amontillado: Aged Fino sherry. Some oxidation and brown-yellow color. Best are dry, some sweetened with sweet wine.
-Manzanilla: Finos aged in Sanlucar de Barrameda at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. Cooler, maritime climate. Humidity pretty much guarantees a permanent cap of flor that insulates the wine, making this the palest and lightest of the sherries, with an iodine note.
-Manzanilla Pasado: Manzanilla that has lost its flor. Made in the same manner as Amontillado, but more elegant; like Manzanilla, made exclusively in Sanlucar de Barrameda.
-Pale Cream: A non-aged, sweetened Fino.
Styles of Sherry:

-Oloroso: A type of classification and a sherry style. Means ‘fragrant’. Higher in alcohol, dark and nutty. The best quality ones are dry. This term is often abused for cheaper styles.

-Cream: Oloroso that has been sweetened by the addition of Pedro Ximenez grapes. Can range from commercial to very high quality. Best should be dark, sweet, and delicious.

-Amoroso and Brown: Commercial styles that are softly-sweetened Olorosos.
Styles of Sherry:

-Palo Cortado

-Pedro Ximenez

-Palo Cortado: Neither a Fino nor an Oloroso. Happens by a fluke. Starts off as an Amontillado, but loses its flor early on. The style is therefore in-between. Rich, nutty, and complex. Generally dry.

-Pedro Ximenez: Primarily produced as a sweetening agent. Sometimes released as limited bottlings. Not solera-aged. May be vintage-dated. Deep, dark and huge. Best served on/with ice cream.

-Moscatel: Rich, raisiny delight.
Almacenista Sherries
Lustau commercialized this concept. These are Sherries from a private stockholder who purchases a portion of a Bodega’s production and ages it, often for 30 years or more. Always top quality, the stockholder sells it back, after aging, to the Bodega to bottle it pure and unblended, then release it. Every style of Sherry may be produced this way, and the Almacenista’s name may be on the bottle. Fractions on the label indicate the number of bottles in the solera (e.g. 1/38, 1/17, 1/10). Sometimes the Bodegas use this wine to blend into their houses for greater depth and character in the commercial blends.
-Copitas is proper stemware.

-Serve dry Finos chilled (48°) and consume quickly (½ bottles).

-Serve sweet Finos and Olorosos at cellar temperature and consume with 1½ weeks (gas the bottle).
Montilla-Moriles DO
From the Cordoba province in southern Spain. Same styles as Sherry. Very hot area. Fortification is the exception rather than the rule. Pedro Ximenez makes up about 90% of the plantings. This area also supplies PX wine to the Sherry trade. Fermentation is carried out in large traditional tinajas. Two types of soil:
-Alberos: Chalky, similar to Albariza
-Ruedos: Reddish, compact loam

Three qualities of juice:
-Free-run: Fino -First Pressing: Oloroso
-Second Pressing: Distillation
Rich, raisiny fortified wines from Pedro Ximenez. Either fortified during fermentation to retain sweetness or grapes are dried and then fermented to ensure residual sugar. Develops a flor. This is an excellent, underrated dessert wine. Arrope used to sweeten the wine.
Madeira location
An ancient Portuguese volcanic island -500 km west of Morocco.
-Tropical climate with no real extremes.
-Fertile, volcanic soils with a high potash content. Very mountainous.
-"Levadas" channel rainfall to farms
Madeira varietals/sweetness levels
-Hybrids are still grown, but banned in Madeira production.
-For the 4 important varieties, use of grape on the label also indicates sweetness level of the wine:

• Sercial: Driest style.
• Verdelho: Medium-dry style.
• Bual: Rich and medium-sweet.
• Malmsey: Sweetest style (grape is aka Malvasia).
• Tinta Negra Mole: Most widely-planted variety – comprises about 65% of vineyard area.
• Terrantez and Bastardo are also planted.

-Before joining EU, grape variety was solely an indication of sweetness level. Since 1993, a variety must make up 85% of the wine if stated on label.
• Fortification: Port method for sweeter styles; Sherry method for drier styles.

• Estufagem: Method of ‘baking wines’. Lesser quality wines over a shorter time with artificial heat. Higher quality wines over a longer time in naturally hot rooms.
Madeira Aging
Madeira Aging: Individual cask or solera aging.

-Reserve: More than 5 years old.
-Special Reserve: More than 10 years old.
-Extra Reserve: More than 15 years old.
-Vintage: From one of the main four grapes, 20 years in cask and another 2 in bottle.
-Mosto Cotto
DOC in Sicily. Created by English wine merchant John Woodhouse.

-Grape varieties: Grillo, Catarrato, and Inzolia grapes.

-Mosto cotto: Boiled-down must.

-Mistela: Stop-fermented grape juice.
Marsala Aging & Color Classification
⬢ Fine: 1 year aging.
⬢ Superiore: 2 years aging.
⬢ Superiore Riserva: 4 years aging.
⬢ Vergine or Solera: 5 years aging.
⬢ Vergine Stravecchio (Riserva): 10 years.

No sweetening is allowed for Vergine wines.

Also classified by color:
⬢ Ambra: Amber
⬢ Oro: Gold (no most cotto allowed)
⬢ Rubino: Ruby. Made from red grapes. A new style, and quite rare.

-Flavored Marsala are no longer entitled to DOC status.
Aromatized wines
-Herb-flavored (typically), fortified wines. A variety of flavorings. Sweetened, flavored with concentrate. Pasteurized. Examples:

⬢ Chambéry-Alpine vermouth
⬢ French style is dry/Noilly-Prat
-Martini & Rossi
⬢ Sweet and dry; white and red. Production is centered in Piedmont.

-Campari: Ingredients are secret. Unknown herbs and spices.

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