Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez. Sherry is today widely regarded by wine experts as "underappreciated" and a "neglected wine treasure".
The word "sherry" is an anglicization of Jerez. In earlier times, sherry was known as sack (from the Spanish saca, meaning "a removal from the solera"). "Sherry" is a protected designation of origin; therefore, all wine labeled as "sherry" must legally come from the Sherry Triangle, which is an area in the province of Cádiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. In 1933 the Jerez Denominación de Origen was the first Spanish denominación to be officially recognized in this way, officially named D.O. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and sharing the same governing council as D.O. Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
After fermentation is complete, sherry is fortified with brandy. Because the fortification takes place after fermentation, most sherries are initially dry, with any sweetness being added later. In contrast, port wine (for example) is fortified halfway through its fermentation, which stops the process so that not all of the sugar is turned into alcohol.
Sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to much darker and sometimes sweeter versions known as olorosos.