The heart of many Spanish traditions like flamenco and bullfighting, Andalusia is located in the south of Spain. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and northern Spain, Andalusia has three climate zones, with the west influenced by the cool winds of the Atlantic, the south having a more Mediterranean climate, and further inland being more continental with hot and dry conditions. Because of its prime location, Andalusia has been the target for many settlements and invasions, each of which have left their mark on the culture of Andalusia. This can be seen in the viticulture which is believed to stem from the arrival of the Greeks in the 8th century BCE.
Spanning across a little over 15,000 hectares, some of the main varietals found in Andalusia are Pedro Ximenez, Moscatel, Palomino, and Airén. While Andalusia is home to five DOs, the one that is most well-known is Jerez which produces sherry, a fortified white wine. While sherries can range in style from dry to sweet, dry sherry is produced by going through complete fermentation with minimal residual sugar.
Typically the driest style of sherry with lots of salinity, Fino sherry tends to be tank fermented. It’s aged under a blanket of yeast called flor, which helps protect the wine from oxidation.
Also aged under flor, this sherry tends to be the lightest with more flinty notes.
Since there’s no guarantee that the veil of yeast will hold, Amontillado is the result when it doesn’t. Due to its extended contact with the outside air, Amontillado is brown in color and delivers rich umami and oxidized notes of nuttiness and sautéed mushrooms.
Oloroso sherry is created when a cellar master intentionally breaks up the flor to promote oxidation. The longer this sherry stays in barrels, the more rich and complex it becomes.