Discover the Rich Flavors and Aromas of Sherry: A Tasting Guide

A surprising number of people don't know what sherry tastes like, but that is a real shame because it's an incredibly delicious and complex fortified wine. In this blog post, we're diving into the tasting notes of sherry and describing why it's so tasty.

From the popcorn and hazelnut notes of sweet Fino, to the dates and apricots of Amontillado, each type of sherry has something unique and delicious to offer. We'll explore the subtleties of each type and lend you some tips on how to pair this fortified wine so you can incorporate it into your own wine and food pairings. So let's get started!

How I Would Describe the Taste of Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine, typically made from white grapes, that has a distinct, memorable flavor. It is usually characterized by rich, strong and nutty aromas and an intense, sweet-sour taste that is usually enjoyable and not overwhelming. Sherry can range in color from light yellow to a deep, dark amber and its flavor profile can vary greatly depending on the style of sherry being enjoyed.

Dry sherries tend to have a slightly tart, dry taste and a medium body, while sweet sherries are much richer with a more delicate sweetness and often a deep, dark hue. These variations give sherry a huge variety of options for all palates. Sherry pairs well with both savory and dessert dishes, creating a unique taste combination that is a pleasure to enjoy.

Why Do People Like Sherry?

Some people enjoy the rich, complex flavors of sherry, which can range from nutty and dry to sweet and fruity, depending on the type of sherry. Others appreciate the versatility of sherry, as it can be enjoyed on its own, used as a base for cocktails, or paired with a variety of foods.

Some people also simply enjoy the social aspect of drinking sherry with friends or at special events, so it's more of an accompaniment to a specific occasion rather than a drink of choice on its own.

Who Might Not Like Sherry?

Those who don't enjoy sweet drinks may not appreciate the flavor of sherry. Depending on the type, some sherries can be quite heavy and sweet, tasting of dried fruits, nuts, and raisins. The flavors of sherry can also include caramel, toffee, tobacco, and oak notes—all of which may be too intense for those who don't usually opt for sweet drinks. Additionally, some styles of sherry, such as cream sherries, can be quite heavy and may not be appreciated by those who prefer light and crisp drinks.

Are There Different Kinds of Sherry?

Yes, there are different types of Sherry. The most common types are Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Oloroso, Palo Cortado, and Cream Sherry.


Fino is a type of white wine from Spain that is highly prized for its distinctive taste. It is light-bodied with a very dry finish and has a nutty, salty taste with subtle flavors of almonds and hazelnuts. It has a lightly floral aroma, and its taste pairs well with seafood dishes. Fino is made from the Palomino grape and traditionally comes from the area of Sherry in Andalusia, Spain.


Manzanilla is a type of dry, light, and delicate Spanish sherry. It is made from the palomino grape variety, and is aged in barrels located along the Sanlúcar de Barrameda coast in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Manzanilla sherry has a distinctive salty taste and is usually served at a cooler temperature than other types of sherry. It is often used as an aperitif or as a there to pair with seafood and tapas.


Amontillado is a type of sherry that is made from white grapes and aged in barrels. It is characterized by a nutty, dry flavor and a pale amber color. The flavor of Amontillado sherry is typically more complex and full-bodied than that of Fino sherry, with a more pronounced nutty character and a slightly sweeter finish.

It is often described as having notes of almonds, hazelnuts, and dried fruit, as well as hints of wood and spice. Amontillado sherry can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif, or paired with a variety of foods, such as nuts, cheese, and charcuterie.


Oloroso is a type of fortified wine that originates in Spain. It is made using a solera aging system, during which a base wine is mixed with brandy, then aged in oak barrels. Oloroso has a distinctive dark color, complex flavor, and sweet, nutty aroma. Its taste is characterized by rich, full-bodied flavors like dried fruits, nuts, and spices, with a slight nuttiness that adds complexity.

Palo Cortado

Palo Cortado is a type of fortified wine made from a variety of grapes, usually from the Sherry region of Spain. It has a distinctive dry, nutty, and slightly burnt aroma and flavor, with a tannic finish that can make it feel slightly intense.

Its taste is sometimes described as being less intense and more complex than a Sherry but bolder and more interesting than a Fino. It is often referred to as a "finishing wine" because its flavor is heightened when served with food. It pairs well with nuts, cheeses, Winesap apples, dishes with intense flavors such as pepper or espresso, and even salted fish.

Cream Sherry

Cream sherry is a sweet and full-bodied fortified wine made from a blend of processed and aged sherries. Its distinctive flavor comes from its combination of oak-aged sherry and a sweeter “cream” component, which is usually made from Pedro Ximénez grapes. It is usually higher in alcohol content and sweeter than other sherry styles, and it has a smooth syrupy texture with nut and raisin flavors.

How Is Sherry Usually Served?

Sherry is typically served chilled, in a miniature glass. It is a fortified wine made from white grapes and is typically sweet, though some types of sherry can be dryer. The general flavor is quite complex, with notes of nuts, caramel, toffee, and various fruits like apricot, peach and raisin.

It has a medium body and a pleasant aroma. Sherry is most commonly served as an aperitif, with appetizers or before a meal, but it can also pair with desserts or meal courses. Its unique flavor makes it a great accompaniment to small bites like olives and cheeses, and it also pairs nicely with light desserts.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, sherry is a versatile and complex drink that offers a wide range of flavors and aromas. Whether you prefer the dry, nutty character of Amontillado, the light and floral notes of Fino, or the rich, fruity flavors of Oloroso, there is a type of sherry to suit every taste.

Whether enjoyed on its own, as part of a cocktail, or paired with food, sherry is a delicious and sophisticated drink that is sure to impress. So why not give it a try and discover the many pleasures of this timeless Spanish classic?