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The traditions and rules of the past have largely been thrown out. Today, sherry is enjoyed in much the same way as ordinary wines. Here are some guidelines to help you enjoy your sherry the most:
Temperature is a key factor that can dramatically affect how your palate perceives a drink, both at first sip and through the entire glass and bottle. Here are some guidelines:
- Fino & Manzanilla: serve very cold, 44°-48°F. (Keep in the refrigerator until time to drink)
- Amontillado, Oloroso, & Palo Cortado: serve cool, around 55°F. (If stored at room temperature, just put the bottle in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.)
- Pedro Ximenez, Moscatel, Cream, & East India: serve chilled, around 50°F.
Glassware is the second key. In the distant past, people tried to be quite proper and formal with their sherry, and it became popular to use a tiny old-fashioned tulip-shaped glass. DO NOT DO THIS! Almost no one even owns these types of glasses anymore, and they do not highlight the best flavors of sherry. Instead, you should use some kind of larger, open-bowled glass, to let the aromas waft up into your face as you drink. (This accentuates your tasting ability, too.) Any type of standard wine glass works just fine.
The third key in how to serve sherry is the food pairings, to highlight the flavors of both the sherry and the food. We’ll go into depth on sherry and food pairings in the next section.