Pass the Sherry and Cheese, Please

Most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to Sherry:

1. Those who assume there's only one type: sweet Cream Sherry.

2. Those who know there are many types and find them confusing.

I started in the first camp, then moved to the second camp, and then found a love and appreciation for Sherry. It certainly isn't an easy journey to understand Sherry, but the good news is that you don't have to know all the details it in order to enjoy it. (Unless you do want to go on a path to Sherry enlightenment, then this post is for you.)

To enjoy Sherry, you just need to follow two steps:

1. Try one style at a time.

2. Pair it with food.

There's no need to try to unravel its complex production process, styles, or differences from the get-go. Don't overcomplicate it. Push your assumptions to the side and follow my steps. Pick a style, then pick a pairing. The easiest food category to start with? Cheese, of course! Cheese is the soulmate of wine, including Sherry. Below you'll find quick and easy suggestions to get you started!

Try these Sherry and cheese combos

Burrata and Fino

When pairing cheese (or really anything) with Fino Sherry, think "fresh"! My favorite choice here is burrata, but mozzerella or feta would also complement Fino. Add some tomato slices, olives, nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil, too.

Manchego and Manzanilla

Stylistically, Manzanilla is similar to Fino. The defining difference is that Manzanilla is from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a town right on the seashore. Its location gives it a slight saltiness that I like with a mild manchego and crusty bread.

Comté and Amontillado

Amontillado is noticeably nuttier than Fino and needs a somewhat heartier cheese, like Comté. This genius pairing is from wine writer and consultant Amaia Soto. You can learn more about Sherry and other Spanish wines from her at @thewaywewinenow.

Aged Cheddar and Palo Cortado

To balance Palo Cortado's mysteriousness, I recommend a reliable favorite like aged cheddar. Aged cheddar will taste delicious next to it, but won't require too much thought since you're definitely already familiar with it. All of the focus should be on this rare Sherry!

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Oloroso

Oloroso is the heaviest and nuttiest Sherry. It needs a cheese that will stand up to it! Parmigiano-Reggiano, preferably aged, packs an umami punch that mimics Oloroso's most traditional pairing: beef. If you're feeling adventurous, smoked Gouda is a fun choice, too.

Stilton with Cranberries and Pedro Ximénez

Sweet Pedro Ximénez (PX) tastes amazing with dessert, especially s'mores in my opinion. When pairing with cheese, I like one studded with fruit. For autumn, my vote is white Stilton with cranberries. You could try this with Cream Sherry, too.

Want to learn more about Sherry? See what I discovered in Jerez.