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.