Sherry Wines offers a wiede range of colours, aromas and sensations.Its unique ageing system of "Soleras and Criaderas"and biological ageing under "flor", a layer of yeast that develops on the surface of the wine while it is ageing the "botas" (American oak casks).
In the wine cellars the butts are lined up in rows of maximum of four levels.The lowest row (at the floor level ) is called Solera and contains the oldest wine.The butts in the row immediately above it, is called the first Criadera (or "Clase" in Sanlcar) which contain wine younger than the Solera and in the row above the first, the second Criadera the wines are much younger.And so on until we reach the last row.
The wine for bottling is always drawn off from the Solera but only 1/3 is taken from each butt of Solera.These wine is going to be replaced by 1/3 of the first Criadera and so on up to the wines of the last row of butts, which are blended with the new wines from the last harvest. This operation is known as "running the scales".
This system of ageing is a very dynamic process which allow the wines to acquire gradually the fine qualities of old wines and the freshness of the younger wines.
There are two type of ageing in Sherry:
Ageing under "Flor" Fino and Manzanilla - Dry white wines .15%vol. Minimum ageing of three years in cask to qualify for the D.O.
Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Sweet Oloroso, Cream and Pedro Ximenez. The only style of sherry wine that undergoes the two types of ageing is the Amontillado. This wine age as Manzanilla or Fino first for a minimum of three years and then start an oxidative ageing for many years.