There are three main types of sherry: dry, medium and sweet. These are pretty widely available but there are a couple more that are a bit different and harder to find.
As with wine, the different sherry regions are governed by the Denominaciónes de Origen which control their quality.
First we have the dry sherries Fino and Manzanilla. These are pale in colour, bitingly dry and delicately flavoured.
The Manzanilla has a salty, nuttier taste. They are primarily served as aperitifs before the meal and with tapas as a starter.
However, many Spanish people drink these as a wine throughout the meal. They are very versatile wines which go perfectly with jamón, chorizo, mild cheeses, white fish and all seafood.
Next up comes the medium-dry Amontillado. This is a golden amber colour with a dry but nutty taste. It goes well with poultry and game, robust cheeses and oily fish like sardines and mackerel.
A darker, richer sherry but still a medium is the Oloroso. This is perfect for red meats and stronger game dishes.
Finally comes the dessert sherries: Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez. These are both very sweet and are perfect for desserts and blue cheeses. The Moscatel is a softer wine and the Ximénez is a rich, dark Spanish beauty in a glass!
A couple of options for you to try are a Palo Cortado and a Pale Cream.
The Palo Cortado is a rare wine which is a sort of cross between an Amontillado and an Oloroso. Drink it with the richer foods like game, strong cheeses, etc.
You’ll probably find the Pale Cream more easily available. This is basically a fino that has been sweetened. It’s an interesting flavour and goes well with rich patés like foie gras, or try it with fresh fruit and nuts.
A commonly-found sherry is the Cream. This is a dessert wine in the style of the Ximénez but not so rich - or expensive! Try it with sweets, pastries and blue cheeses.