Last Updated: October 12, 2022
Does it ever make you curious how long Sherry lasts? If yes, then you are not alone. One of the urban myths about a bottle of Sherry is that you can keep it for years.
Sherry wines can develop inside the bottle, just like any other wine. It is, therefore, appropriate to understand when and how to consume your bottle of Sherry within a reasonable period.
Let's discover more about Sherry wine, its different types, shelf life, and proper storage so we can enjoy a fresh Sherry for longer.
Shelf Life Of Sherry Wines
Sherry is southern Spain's reputable fortified wine, a strong liquor from Jerez de la Frontera. It means that Sherry wines have a more potent alcohol content and are often misunderstood by many.
Adding brandy or a neutral grape spirit is part of the fortification process. Doing such increases the alcohol content in Sherry bottles for longer preservation.
A bottle of Sherry comes in various styles. Such a wine has types ranging from the driest to the sweetest and wines that come in between varying flavors and intensities.
Understanding the different styles of Sherry wines is essential to know how long does Sherry last.
Fino and Manzanilla Sherry
Unopened bottles of Fino and manzanilla can last up to a year, while an opened bottle takes only three days to a week. Wine drinkers enjoy chilled Fino or manzanilla, and the modern versions of these wine styles are lighter Sherries than they used to be.
Typically, a Fino and manzanilla Sherry begins to lose its vibrance starting from the third day you remove the cork and will start to taste flat.
These types of Sherry wine are the most delicate, so it's best to drink Fino and manzanilla Sherry soon after opening.
Amontillado is typically an aperitif to savory dishes like chicken and rabbit, and it's best to serve it chilled. A sealed bottle makes Amontillado Sherry last a few years due to its stability. You may also refrigerate opened Sherry of this type to make it last two more weeks.
The pungent Oloroso Sherry can undergo the oxidative aging process in a highly controlled manner for decades and give birth to a Cream Sherry.
It accompanies many savory dishes, including roasts and meat stews. This delicious wine is a sweet Sherry that can last up to a few weeks to twelve months.
Palo Cortado Sherry
The Palo Cortado is a bottle of Sherry that has the aroma of amontillado and the body of Oloroso.
It is initially among the fortified wines, and only a less significant percentage of Sherry wines end up as Palo Cortado, explaining its rarity.
An unopened bottle of Palo Cortado can last a few years due to its stability. On the contrary, an opened bottle of Sherry Palo Cortado remains suitable to drink for a few weeks. You only need to ensure that the cork is secure and refrigerate the wine.
Cream sherries come in various types; the pale and medium cream and the Cream Sherry. A Pale Cream comes from an old Sherry, a Fino, or manzanilla.
The Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry is a well-known brand and the best example of the pale cream style.
If you plan on storing Sherry longer, the pale cream styles are suitable since they can last for two months before they lose flavor.
An opened bottle may last a few months when you store cream sherries with their original cork intact and in a cool and dry area. Unopened bottles of medium sweet Sherry last for two to three years; you have at least two to three weeks to drink an open bottle before it goes bad.
Unlike other wines in the Sherry family, Pedro Ximénez or PX is a naturally sweet Sherry wine. You can store Sherry wine like Pedro Ximénez much longer than the rest. A leftover Sherry as this one can last up to one to four years.
Of course, you must ensure optimal storage and a secure cork, whether it's an unopened bottle of Sherry or not.
In addition to being fun, cooking with wine enhances the flavor compounds of the food, like in the case of Sherry cooking wine.
Despite the dry Marsala wine being more common in several recipes, a cooking Sherry wine is also handy around the kitchen.
Cooking Sherry is just like your regular Sherry wine that comes from white grapes, except it uses brandy during fortification. Also, it includes preservatives to lengthen its shelf life, and Sherry cooking wine is not suitable for drinking.
How To Store Cherry And Keep It In Excellent Condition
Despite the various styles of your Sherry, one thing you must keep in mind is not to place the bottles in a warm environment. Avoid storing your Sherries in places where fluctuating temperatures are inevitable.
At best, ensure that you store Sherry in a cool, dark place away from the direct ray of sunlight.
A smaller bottle of Fino is available in Spain because it's a delicate wine that you can't store for longer. Also, try keeping your Sherry bottle upright to reduce surface contact with the air inside the bottle.
For unsealed bottles, secure the cork properly and find a good reason to drink the remaining wine as soon as possible. Or, for leftover Sherries, you may use them as a cooking wine.
Others find them useful as salad dressings or place them in ice cube trays, and after the cubes freeze, place them in containers. You can also use these frozen Sherry cubes for cooking.
Taste Test: Educate yourself further by reading about white wines and their shelf life! We have one written specifically for you here -- Does Marsala Wine Go Bad.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can you keep an unopened Sherry wine?
The shelf life of a sealed Sherry bottle depends on its type. You may preserve unopened Fino or Manzanilla for a year, Amontillado for eighteen months, and Oloroso and Cream Sherries for three years or more. PX, on the other hand, can last for twenty-four to forty-eight months.
How would you know if your Sherry wine is no longer suitable for drinking?
One of the things you must observe if you want to know if your Sherry is still in good condition is its taste. A wine in poor condition tastes bland. One way of proving this is to take a small sip to determine if it's still suitable for drinking or not.
You may also check for the cork taint that will give a musty tone to the wine's flavor or for floating black specks in your Sherry. It may also look cloudy and start changing its color. Or you may notice the appearance of some bubbles.
Should you refrigerate Sherry after opening the bottle?
Yes, refrigerating your Sherries after opening can slow the oxidation process that turns your wine into vinegar. Aside from refrigeration, you must look for other ways to preserve your wines longer.
Storing Sherry in the fridge once opened is okay, but it can alter the wine's chemical composition. It's only practical to go for the well-suited storage method for your wine type so you may store it longer without compromising its quality.
Can I freeze Sherry wines?
Yes, freezing Sherry wines is okay. The high alcohol content in Sherries allows them to withstand low temperatures without entirely freezing.
Freezing wine is often a subject of debate for most individuals as it alters a wine's flavor. Hence, some would resort to immersing the bottle in an ice cube tray or n a bucket full of frozen cubes to preserve the wine. Others would turn their Sherries into ice cubes and place them in a freezer bag for cooking.
Some wines need the storage temperature of a wine cellar, while you can store the others in a wine rack or your fridge. However, not all wines get better with age, especially for opened bottles.
Even if an unopened bottle has a lengthier shelf life, it can still go bad after some time. Remember that the shelf life for unopened and opened bottles of Sherry depends on its type and the storage condition.