I loved this overview picture posted on Vinos de Jerez facebook page. I’ll do my best to translate, but please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.
FINO: straw yellow in color – dry, delicate & light on the palate – 15 & 18% vol alcohol – best served at 45-48ºF – best to drink as an aperitif & paired with tapas, olives, anchovies, ham…
MANZANILLA: straw yellow in color – feeling of freshness and lingering aftertaste & slightly bitter – 15 & 18% vol alcohol – best served at 45-48ºF – divine as an aperitif especially paired with seafood or salty foods.
AMONTILLADO: caramel or butterscotch in color – nutty aromas of hazelnuts, hints of aromatic herbs & black tobacco, dry – 18 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 55-57ºF – drink it with soups, white meat, blue fish, vegetables & cheese curds or soft cheeses.
OLOROSO: dark caramel in color – dry, nutty aromas of walnuts & hints of hardwood & blond tobacco – 17 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 55-57ºF – pair with whichever red meat you prefer, meat stews, mushrooms & hard cheeses.
PALO CORTADO: caramel in color – a combination of the aromas of an Amontillado & the body of an Oloroso; dry on the palate – 17 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 55-57ºF – for that moment of delight & meditation; pair with nuts and hard cheeses.
PALE CREAM: light butter scotch in color – light & fresh, but slightly sweet – 17 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 50ºF – pairs perfectly with pâte & foie gras.
MEDIUM: caramel in color – the smell of liquor, starts dry & finishes sweet – 15 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 54-57ºF – a luxurious pairing with pâte or even spicy dishes like curry.
CREAM: dark caramel in color – the body of a greasy oloroso; sweet with hints of caramel – 15 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 55ºF – goes wonderfully with dessert even though it could go very well as an aperitif with blue cheeses & foie gras.
MOSCATEL: the color of molasses – appearing thick & very sweet in flavor – 15 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 54-57ºF – pair with desserts that aren’t too sweet like fruit & ice cream.
PEDRO XIMENEZ (PX): the color of molasses – a thick sensation & notes of dried fruit (raisins, figs, dates); very sweet – 15 & 22% vol alcohol – best served at 54-57ºF – pair with yummy desserts, ice cream & blue cheeses.