Fortified wine of Spanish origin. It takes its name from the province of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Essential to its taste is the action of flor, a mildewlike growth encouraged by a slight exposure to air after fermentation. Also unique is the solera system of blending wines of many vintage years. Sherry is fortified after fermentation with high-proof brandy to 16 – 18% alcohol. It is served primarily as an aperitif, though sweeter, heavier sherries are used as dessert wines
Thus there are no vintage sherries and the quality is consistent year after year. Sherries range in color, flavor and sweetness. Fino, considered by many to be the world's finest sherry, is pale, delicate and very dry. Finos are excellent when young but should not be aged because they don't improve and may lose some of their vitality. They're often served chilled as an apéritif.
An alcoholic drink taken as an appetizer before a meal.
[French, from Old French aperitif, purgative, from Medieval Latin aperitīvus, from Late Latin apertīvus, from Latin apertus, past participle of aperīre, to open.]