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Best sherry 2023: Enjoy a taste of Spain with these tapas-friendly sherries

Whether you’re searching for an after-dinner tipple or the perfect food pairing, these are the best sherries for every occasion

It might not be as popular as brandy, port or the classic wines we’re most familiar with, but the best sherry is still worth seeking out if you want to try something new. Sherry is a lightly fortified white wine produced in Andalucia, Spain. Only a small number of towns in Jerez can make it according to strict parameters, much like Champagne in France or parmesan in Italy.

Historically, we Brits have preferred sweeter sherry and as such, the Spanish didn’t tend to export the more complex, drier styles. But things are changing: there’s now an emerging new trend for sherry, with people rediscovering the traditional styles rather than the sweet, blended varieties we’re most familiar with.

We’ve tested a variety of different sherries, so you can work out which one should earn a place on your drinks trolley. They vary wildly, but all have one thing in common: they’re nothing like the ones in your gran’s cupboard.

If you’re new to the drink, we suggest reading our buying guide below for some helpful tips on picking the right sherry for you. Otherwise, simply scroll on to find our reviews of the best sherries to buy right now.

Best sherry: At a glance

  • Best Fino: Gonzalez Byass Una Palma Fino | Buy now
  • Best Amontillado: Delgado Amontillado Goyesco | Buy now
  • Best PX: Xixarito Pedro Ximinez | Buy now
  • Best Palo Cortado: Waitrose No.1 Torre del Oro Palo Cortado | Buy now

How to choose the best sherry for you

What kinds of sherry are there?

The main types of sherry are: Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso, Amontillado, Pedro Ximinez (or PX) and Creams.

Fino and Manzanilla are the driest styles of sherry, but are a world away from a standard dry white wine. They’re more savoury in flavour than wine due to the type of yeast (flor) used to mature them. Both Fino and Manzanilla are very similar in style with fresh almond, lemon and apple flavours coming from the signature Palomino grape.

The main difference is that Manzanilla must be produced in the coastal town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, while Fino can be produced in Jerez and El Puerto de Santa Maria. What’s more, the climate where Manzanilla is made means it’s lighter and more bitter than Fino.

Oloroso and Amontillado are iterations of Fino that have been allowed to mature and oxidise for years, giving a richer, nuttier and more aromatic flavour. However, with Oloroso, the yeast is removed early on, allowing it to oxidise further, producing a darker and stronger sherry.

The sweetest sherries are from the Pedro Ximinez grape, which is dried before the winemaking process begins. This gives PX sherry an unmistakable raisin scent and a sweet, sticky flavour.

Cream sherries are made from a blend of sherry types: usually PX with a Fino or Oloroso. Creams do not contain any dairy but are sweeter and more unctuous than other styles of sherry, making them perfect for enjoying alongside after-dinner coffee and dessert.

How do I drink sherry?

Dry Fino and Manzanilla are best enjoyed cold from the fridge with salty or fatty foods – think salted almonds, olives and jamón. They are usually drunk straight up, but there is a recent and welcome trend for mixing them with tonic as an aperitif, in much the same way as port or vermouth.

Richer styles of Oloroso and Amontillado are delicious sipped lightly chilled (around 12°C) with a cheese or charcuterie board, while stickier Pedro Ximinez is good on the rocks, or over vanilla ice cream for an indulgent boozy dessert. Cream sherries are a good pairing for fruit cakes or drunk as a digestif.

How much should I spend?

Sherries are subject to numerous regulations when it comes to the winemaking process. The precision with which Spain’s winemakers follow the complex system of rotating vintages and barrels to create sherry is as labour-intensive as Champagne production.

Despite this, sherries don’t command the same prices as Champagne, and even the best, most prestigious and aged bottles only typically cost between £25-£50. If you’re new to sherry, you only need to fork out around £10-£20 to try out some really good options and decide what styles you prefer.

READ NEXT: The best red wines to buy

The best sherry to buy in 2023

1. Xixarito Pedro Ximinez: Best PX sherry

Price: £23 (75cl) | Buy now from The Northern Wine & Beer Co.

Pedro Ximinez is a completely different beast to dry sherry, and this family-made PX is one of the finest we’ve tried. Matured for 15 years, Xixarito is big and bold, with a powerful dried fruit character. It’s deeply dark and raisin-hued, with even more concentrated raisin flavours on the palate.

It’s not all raisin, though. You’ll also find fig and date, as well as plenty of chocolate and vanilla notes. This is decadent and indulgent served over ice, and will make any pudding shine when used as an ingredient. Nice label, too.

Key details – ABV: 15%; Bottle size: 75cl

Buy now from The Northern Wine & Beer Co.

2. Delgado Amontillado Goyesco: Best Amontillado sherry

Price: £14 (75cl)| Buy now from Spanish Wines Direct

Any sherry fan’s first stop should be Spanish Wines Direct, as you can pick your way through a huge selection of excellent sherries. It was hard to choose a favourite, but this unusual dry Amontillado is worth trying, as it’s aged under flor (yeast) for longer, making it a fresh but super-refined sherry.

It has delicious notes of fig, plenty of nuttiness and a touch of oak, too. It’s also less savoury tasting than Fino and has none of the richness you might get from an Oloroso. This clean flavour means it’s very smooth and drinkable, especially when served with punchy foods such as salted fish.

Key details – ABV: 17.5%; Bottle size: 75cl

Buy now from Spanish Wines Direct

3. Gonzalez Byass Una Palma Fino: Best Fino sherry

Price: £41 (50cl) | Buy now from The Whisky Exchange

For almost two centuries, the Tio Pepe cellar masters have used the “Palma” system to indicate the maturity of sherry in barrels by marking them with chalk. The more chalk marks, the deeper the aromas and flavours. This Una Palma fino is a limited production, made from just three casks of Tio Pepe sherry aged further with a layer of flor and bottled unfiltered.

The result is a classic Fino sherry with the addition of light apple and lemon flavours that complement the signature savouriness. We found this was calling out for salty, smoky almonds or even just some good crisps to nibble alongside. It’s the ideal aperitif and also pairs well with a high-quality light tonic and lots of ice.

Key details – ABV: 15.5%; Bottle size: 50cl

Buy now from The Whisky Exchange

4. Morrisons The Best Oloroso Sherry: Best Oloroso sherry

Price: £6.50 (37.5cl) | Buy now from Morrisons

It’s often said that sherry is closer to whisky than wine, and when you try something like this Oloroso, you can understand why. It’s a dark, smoky sherry and most likely to be enjoyed by spirits drinkers who can appreciate the fiery taste and oak notes from cask ageing. The smoke aroma and flavour in this Oloroso is pronounced and possibly divisive, but when enjoyed lightly chilled with meat dishes, its deeply savoury flavour is extremely enjoyable.

The distinctive aromas of this sherry also make it a useful cocktail ingredient: we’d recommend trying it in a sherry sour. What’s more, as it’s a smaller 37.5cl bottle, it offers a chance to try something different without too much commitment.

Key details – ABV: 20%; Bottle size: 37.5cl

Buy now from Morrisons

5. Waitrose No.1 Torre del Oro Palo Cortado: Best Palo Cortado

Price: £12 (75cl) | Buy now from Waitrose

Palo Cortado is a sort of cross between Oloroso and Amontillado and is a fairly rare variety of sherry. In fact, only one in a thousand barrels become Palo Cortado, so it’s a real connoisseur’s drink. We like this Waitrose offering, which is positively groaning under the weight of its awards. It scooped gold at the International Wine Challenge in 2019, silver at IWSC in 2018 and bronze at the 2019 Decanter Awards, all of which are testament to its wonderful flavour.

Amber in colour with good viscosity, Torre del Oro is deeply nutty beyond the usual almond flavours of sherry. Instead there are notes of hazelnut, an almost burnt caramel flavour and a savoury saltiness, too. The complexity of this sherry is impressive and it opens up even better with food. We happily enjoyed a glass or two with chorizo, and at this price, we’ll certainly purchase it again.

Key details – ABV: 19%; Bottle size: 75cl

Buy now from Waitrose

6. Barbadillo Cream Sherry: Best Cream sherry

Price: From £10 (75cl) | Buy now from Laithwaite’s

If you’re set on a Cream sherry, then let’s make it a good one. This, from the Barbadillo family, is a solid choice whether you’re new to Creams or not. Using ingredients from twelve family-owned bodegas across the Atlantic coast, it’s made by expertly blending Oloroso and PX sherries for a classic Cream finish. It’s gentle and sweet but not cloying, and is aged for three years using the Solera system, whereby younger and older sherries are blended to create a consistent flavour – much like non-vintage wines.

With an attractive mahogany colouring and just a touch of dried fruit, this sherry tastes summery and nutty, and provides a tempting alternative to dessert wines. It’s best paired with chocolate-based puddings or certain strong cheeses.

Key details – ABV: 17.5%; Bottle size: 75cl

Buy now from Laithwaite’s

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