We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Wine a Little: Best Sherries

  1. Hidalgo Alameda Sherry
  2. Lustau Sherry
  3. Orleans Borbon Sherry
  4. Buyer's Guide

An Anglicization of the Spanish town Jerez, Sherry is a fortified Spanish wine that's usually made from white Palomino grapes. It can be dry or sweet, crisp or nutty, and though it is usually used as a cooking wine in the New World, in Spain it's usually enjoyed before or after dinner or even paired with certain fish and poultry dishes.

There are a number of different types of sherry, though they are often categorized as dry or sweet, or dry or cream. Dry sherries, which include Fino, Manzanilla, and sometimes Amontillado, have a crisp aftertaste and a lower sugar content than their sweet counterparts. Cream sherries, which are some of the sweetest, are also viscous and are known for having a creamy mouthfeel, which is how they get their name.

Unlike with port, liquor is added to sherry to increase the alcohol content to around 20% after fermentation is complete. In a dry sherry, sugar is not added, resulting in a strong sherry that's not particularly sweet. In a sweet sherry, sugars are added after fortification to create a beverage that can be intensely sweet. We've compiled a list of the best sherries in 2022 for your enjoyment.

What are the Best Sherries of 2022?

best hidalgo alameda sherry

Hidalgo Alameda Sherry - Best Sherry Overall

Made from aromatic wine grapes that are allowed to dry on the vines, Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry tops this list as the best Cream Sherry. Not much sugar has been added to the Sherry, instead the sweetness comes mostly from the natural sweetness of the grapes. It has lots of caramel and creme brulee on both the nose and the palate, and a lingering, smooth finish. Though plenty sweet for a delicious digestif that can be enjoyed alone or paired with a caramel-based dessert, this Cream Sherry is on the light side and isn't as intense or a viscous as many others.

best lustau sherry

Lustau Sherry - Runner Up

Topping this list as the very best Dry Sherry is Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos. This Sherry made the list as one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines and has received scores in the 90's with professional critics. As an Amontillado, this sherry was not kept under a protective layer of yeast the entire time it was aged. As a result, it was exposed to oxygen in the casks, which has given it a nutty aroma and a rich amber color. You'll also find iodine and walnut on the nose, and caramel on the palate. This Sherry has a long finish and a relatively light mouthfeel. You'll want to enjoy a glass of this with cured cheeses, or strong vegetable dishes such as those featuring asparagus or artichokes.

best orleans borbon sherry

Orleans Borbon Sherry - Honorable Mention

Orleans Borbon Manzanilla Fina is a Sherry fit for a king. In fact, the winery that produces it is currently owned by the Spanish royal family and has only recently become available to those of us without blue blood. Manzanilla is a special style of Sherry that can only be made in the coastal region of Sanlucar de Barrameda since it's kept under a protective flor made of wild yeast native to this small corner of Spain. Like other Manzanilla Sherries, this one is dry, crisp, and incredibly light. It's made from a base of 100 percent Palomino wine, and has notes of almond, lemon curd, and even a hint of Spanish seaside. It has consistently received scores in the 90's and Wine & Spirits Magazine has even named it the Year's Best Buy Wine in 2013.

Buyer's Guide

What is Sherry?

Sherry is a fortified white wine with roots from Jerez De La Frontera in Spain. This elite liquor is one of the oldest in the world and is made from Palomino grapes with a dash of distilled alcohol to increase its alcohol concentration. There are many brews of this exquisite wine out there, and you must want the best of the bunch, right?

There are many reports on how sherry tastes. Some claim it has notes of walnut and caramel or biscuit and almond, depending on how it was brewed. Other sources say it can either be sweet, medium, or dry. Either way, there are two major taste categories of sherry: dry sherry wines— like Parlotillado and Amontillado— and sweet sherry wines— like Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. Also, the average alcohol content of sherry is about 20%, which makes it perfect for sipping and cooking.

Sherry wines are great, but you have to select the best the market can offer for you to enjoy peak value. This guide will help you do just that.

What Factors Should You Consider When Shopping for Sherry?

A couple of things affect the quality and composition of sherry wines, and it is vital to know them if you want to select the best for yourself. So, here’s a shortlist of the factors to put at the back of your mind when sherry shopping.

Sugar Level

Sugar level is a vital factor to consider when shopping for sherry. If you want to avoid sugar and still enjoy a glass of exquisite sherry liquor, dry sherry wines are your best bet. They contain zero residue sugar, which makes them tasteless. If you have no issues with sugar, then you can go with sweet sherry wines. They come with a considerable amount of sugar which makes them endearing to the palate. The thing about sweet sherry wines is that their sugar can either be natural or synthetic.

Taste and Flavor

It’s a no-brainer for the flavor to influence your choice of sherry wine. And although we said dry wines are typically tasteless, some variations have incredible tastes and aftertastes. For example, some dry sherry wines like Manzallina leave an elegant bitter aftertaste. In addition, Amontillado tastes like hazelnut, while some styles of Olorosos come with notes of salted caramel and almonds, figs, citrus, or apple. When it comes to sweet wines, the flavors are endless, and you’re free to select any flavor of choice. Simply request your ideal flavor or check the side of the sherry wine bottle.

Alcohol Content

Sherry wines are products of complete or incomplete fermentation, so they typically contain reasonable amounts of alcohol. In some cases, distilled alcohol is added to raise alcohol content. The alcohol level of sherry wine is usually indicated on the bottle, so you can select anyone based on how well you can hold your liquor. This is to say that choosing the best alcohol content in sherry wine is, once again, purely based on your discretion.


Sherry comes in many color variations for you to choose and there are no specific rules or guidelines for selection. The most common sherry wine colors include pale to sharp straw yellow (biologically aged wines) and dark opaque mahogany (sweet sherry). Other sherry wine colors include intense amber, dark gold, and chestnut brown. This also means that you could also determine the sugar content of a bottle of sherry wine by its color.


Aroma is an inconsequential factor in selecting sherry wines, but a factor nonetheless. The aroma of a bottle of sherry varies on its composition and brewing process. Some of the most common sherry wine aromas are caramel, walnut, iodine, and old navy rum.


Consider what you want to use the sherry for before buying it. If you’ll simply be enjoying your bottle of sherry at dinner or with a piece of cake, then you can go for regular drinking sherry. However, if you plan to cook with your sherry, then cooking sherry should be your go-to. It comes with a higher salt content than drinking sherry, which significantly increases its shelf life. If you can’t find any cooking sherry, you can make do with dry sherry— that way, you can cook your favorite meal with sherry while sipping on good liquor.


Q: Can sherry lose its flavor?

A: Yes. Sherry can spoil and lose its ideal flavor, just like other wines. This happens especially when it is opened and exposed to air. Most bottles can last up to 18 months, while darker and thicker Sherry types like Amontillado and Oloroso may last up to 36 months.

Q: How can I preserve sherry?

A: The best way to preserve the quality of sherry is to keep it in a cold and dry place like a cellar. After opening a bottle of sherry, you can maintain its quality by storing it in a refrigerator and using a cork to prevent oxygen entry. However, this would only be delaying the inevitable, as most sherries will spoil after 2-3 days of opening.

Q: Is it reasonable to store sherry on its side?

A: No. It is best to store sherry standing up to limit the amount of air getting into the bottle, increasing its shelf-life. This method also prevents the cork or stopper from degrading.

Q: How can I tell if sherry has gone bad?

A: The best indications of the quality and state of sherry are taste and aroma. Bad sherry typically has a vinegar-like smell and bland or unusual taste due to oxidation. Also, if you find sediments at the bottom of the sherry bottle or black specks at the top, then it has probably gone bad.

Q: How much does a bottle of sherry cost?

A: The value of sherry depends on the brand, composition, brewing process, and of course, age. Average sherry costs between $10 - $30, while the good stuff may cost up to $50 or more.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top