Serving and storing your sherry correctly will enhance your appreciation of this wonderful drink.
The best sherry glasses are the thin, transparent ‘copitas’ which are designed especially for the job.
They are long-stemmed to prevent your hands warming the wine, and have a taper towards the top to funnel those subtle and distinctive notes nicely to the nose.
Don’t fill the glass more than halfway or the wine will not have a chance to blossom and release its aromas as you swirl it around the glass.
If you can’t lay your hands on some proper copitas then a champagne flute would be the next-best alternative. Failing that, just slosh some into a wine glass, you heathen! But better to drink from a wine glass than not to drink at all, that’s what I say.
Unopened bottles of sherry are very susceptible to oxidisation so should be stored upright, not laid down, in a cool and dark place at an even temperature.
Fino and Manzanilla should be bought fresh and used quickly, within three months, as they do not last well in the bottle. They should always be served chilled. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and consume within a couple of weeks. These wines are very delicately flavoured and lose their character very quickly once opened.
Amontillados can be kept in the bottle for two to three years but, again, once opened, should be consumed as quickly as possible. The ideal temperature to drink these is a cool room temperature. However, once they’ve been opened you should keep them in the fridge if you don’t have a cool place to keep them. Drinking them cold is perfectly acceptable.
The Olorosos, Creams and Ximénezes, being richer and more aged, can be kept in the bottle for years, depending on the quality of the wine. Once opened, they can be kept for months in a cool place, or in the fridge. But bear in mind that they should be served at room temperature to appreciate them at their best. Although a pale cream, or even a cream, ‘on the rocks’ is a delicious alternative.
All sherry, once opened, should be stored upright with their corks firmly in place to prevent oxidisation and loss of flavour.
There is, of course, a very simple answer to this problem of storage and oxidisation: you simply prepare some ‘little dishes’, get a few friends round and open your best bottle of sherry. Then throw the cork away!
What better way to enjoy your sherry?