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Fortified wine of Spanish origin. It takes its name from the province of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Essential to its taste is the action of flor, a mildewlike growth encouraged by a slight exposure to air after fermentation. Also unique is the solera system of blending wines of many vintage years. Sherry is fortified after fermentation with high-proof brandy to 16–18% alcohol. It is served primarily as an aperitif, though sweeter, heavier sherries are used as dessert wines.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sherry, visit Britannica.com.