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A glass of amontillado sherry
Amontillado is a variety of sherry that is darker than fino but lighter than oloroso.

Named after the Montilla region of Spainmarker where this style of wine originated in the 18th century, an amontillado sherry begins as a fino, fortified to approximately 13.5 percent alcohol with a cap of flor yeast limiting its exposure to the air. A cask of fino will be reclassified as amontillado if the layer of flor fails to develop adequately or is intentionally killed by non-replenishment or additional fortification. Without the layer of flor, amontillado must be fortified to approximately 17.5 alcohol so that it does not oxidise too quickly. After the additional fortification, amontillado oxidises slowly, exposed to oxygen through the slightly porous American or Canadian oak casks, and gains a darker colour and richer flavour than fino.

The Amontillado name is sometimes used commercially as a simple measure of colour to label any sherry lying between a fino and an oloroso.

Varieties

  • Fino Amontillado is a wine that has begun the transformation from fino to amontillado, but is not aged long enough to complete the change.
  • Amontillado del Puerto is an amontillado made in El Puerto de Santa Maríamarker.
  • Medium Sherry is a sweetened amontillado.


Serving

Amontillado may be served as an apéritif with olives, almonds, or cheese, or served with food such as chicken or rabbit. Classically it was served with a fine soup, like a beef consommé. It is usually served slightly chilled.

Storing

Due to its oxidative aging and preparation, amontillado is more stable than fino and may be stored for a few years before opening. After opening, it can be kept, corked and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

In popular culture

Amontillado is almost solely known outside of wine circles for its use in the title of Edgar Allan Poe's short story, "The Cask of Amontillado", however it has also featured in such notable places as Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast, as well as in Ben Bova's Grand Tour novel series.

An album called Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the group the Alan Parsons Project, based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, features song "The Cask of Amontillado", based on the Poe's short story of the same name.

Lou Reed wrote a song titled "The Cask", on the second disk of his 2003 album, The Raven. The song is also based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story.

Also, in the movie Babette's Feast, an amontillado is served at the great dinner served by Babette, paired with turtle soup. The character of General Lorens Löwenhielm comments on the wonders of the drink poured for him.

References




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