Recently around Portland, I’ve seen bottles of sherry not necessarily from inside the Marco de Jerez. One that caught my eye was a Fino from Bodegas Cesar Florido. Because they are in Chipona, their Moscatel is regulated by the D.O. (Denominación de Origen) but not their Fino.
When I opened the bottle, I was surprised by the pungent smell of vanilla rather than a yeasty smell of flor. On the palate though, their Fino resembled everything like a true Fino Sherry – light, dry, refreshing and still had hints of flor flavor.
So, I asked my sherry guru Helen from Criadera, how do I explain to non-sherry drinkers why it’s not technically sherry? Her reply was this:
“The simplest way to describe it, is that it hasn’t been matured in the regulated Sherry zone, so can’t be called Fino Sherry. But it’s made the same way as Fino Sherry with the same types of grapes, so is likely to taste extremely similar. So it’s Fino but not Fino Sherry. Because the production isn’t regulated by the Sherry D.O., there may be some differences in maturation time and processing as the producers can be more flexible.”
I think that summed it up quite nicely. So don’t think a bottle not technically inside the Sherry D.O. is a total imposter. You might be surprised — in a good way!