Sherry is a type of fortified wine that is made from white grapes. It’s often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink and can be paired with a variety of foods.
But does Sherry go bad? Sherry does have a shelf life, and if it is not stored properly, it can go bad.
In this blog post, we will discuss the shelf life of sherry and how to tell if it has gone bad.
Does Sherry Go Bad, and How Long Does it Last?
Yes, sherry will go bad after it’s opened.
In general, you’ll need to use sherry within several weeks of opening, even if it’s corked and stored in a refrigerator.
Unopened sherry will last for up to 2 years, but it’s meant to be consumed as a fresh wine.
Check the best by date on the bottle to make sure you use it before it goes bad.
Once the bottle is opened, oxygen begins changing the wine compounds and aging it making it taste and smell flat and then more vinegary as it gets older.
It won’t make you sick if you drink it, but it will smell and taste so bad that it’s highly unlikely you’ll want to drink it anyway.
How Can I Make Sherry Last Longer?
For those who use sherry solely for cooking, uncorking a bottle is daunting because it may not get used up before it goes bad.
The good news is you can tightly cork and store that bottle of sherry in the pantry for several months.
If you’re cooking with it and not drinking it you won’t care as much about flavor degradation.
You can also freeze sherry in ice cube trays. The thawed sherry won’t be good for drinking, but it will taste fine in a recipe.
Just pop a few cubes into simmering sauces and let them thaw.
If you want to preserve a bottle of sherry for drinking (or any other wine) you can do so indefinitely with a wine preservation system.
We put a bunch of them to the test and love them for keeping wine fresh.
Rabbit has a very popular wine preservation system.
Watch this short video to see how easy it is to keep your bottle of wine fresh so you don’t pour money down the drain.
What is Sherry and Where Does it Come From?
Sherry is a fortified wine that originates from the Jerez area in Andalusia, Spain.
It is made from white grape varieties that are grown in the chalky soils of the region.
The grapes are harvested and then crushed to extract their juice. The juice is then fermented and fortified with brandy.
Sherry can be dry or sweet, and it ranges in color from pale straw to deep amber.
It is typically aged for several years in barrels made of American or Canadian oak.
Sherry is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed on its own or used in cooking. It can also be an excellent complement to food.
For example, dry sherry pairs well with fish, while sweet sherry is a good match for desserts.
Sherry has a relatively long shelf life and does not need to be refrigerated. However, it should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Once opened, sherry will last for up to 3 months if stored properly.
Read our related article, How is Sherry Made? for a deep dive into Sherry’s origins and wine-making processes!
How to Drink Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine, which means that it has been made with brandy.
This gives it a higher alcohol content than other types of wine. Sherry is served in small glasses and is meant to be enjoyed slowly.
Sherry can be enjoyed on its own or paired with food.
When pairing sherry with food, it is important to consider the type of sherry and the dishes you are serving.
For example, dry sherry goes well with fish, while sweet sherry pairs nicely with desserts.
Read our related article, How to Drink Sherry, for a better look at serving and pairing Sherry!
Different Types of Sherry
There are many types of sherry, and they can be classified by their sweetness level, color, and the aging process.
The 5 most common types of sherry are as follows:
Read our related article on Sherry vs Brandy. We compare these two popular drinks in a complete guide!
This is the driest and lightest type of sherry. It is pale straw in color and has a nutty flavor.
Fino is typically served chilled as an aperitif or with light dishes such as fish or salads.
Manzanilla sherry is typically light in color and body, with a crisp, dry flavor and a slightly salty character.
Sherry is typically aged in barrels that are exposed to the air, which gives it its unique flavor profile.
Manzanilla sherry is typically aged for three to five years before it is bottled and sold.
Amontillado is a type of Sherry that originates from the Montilla-Moriles region of Spain.
It is made from white grapes that are grown in chalky soils, which imparts a unique character to the wine.
The name “Amontillado” actually refers to the way the wine is made, which involves partially fermenting the grape juice and then aging it in barrels.
This gives Amontillado a light golden color and a dry, nutty flavor.
It is typically enjoyed as an apéritif, but can also be paired with food.
Whether you’re enjoying a glass on its own or pairing it with a meal, Amontillado is sure to elevate any occasion.
Oloroso is a dark, dry sherry that is full-bodied and intense in flavor.
It pairs well with rich dishes such as stews or chocolate desserts.
Oloroso is a type of sherry that is characteristically dark and has a high alcohol content.
It is made using the oxidative aging method, which involves exposing the wine to oxygen during the aging process.
This exposure gives Oloroso Sherry its distinctive flavor profile, which is characterized by notes of raisins, nuts, and caramel.
Oloroso Sherry is typically served as an after-dinner drink or used as a base for cocktails.
Its strong flavors mean that it is best suited to heartier dishes such as stews and casseroles.
Whatever way it is enjoyed, Oloroso sherry is a delicious and distinctive wine that is sure to make any occasion special.
Palo Cortado is a rare type of sherry that is dry and full-bodied like an oloroso, but it has the light color of a fino.
Palo Cortado pairs well with hearty dishes such as game meats or grilled vegetables.
Palo Cortado sherry is a type of fortified wine made in the Jerez region of Spain.
The wine is made from white grapes, and the production process involves aging the wine in barrels under the sun.
Palo Cortado Sherry gets its name from the barrels that the wine is aged in; “palo cortado” means “cut tree.”
The hand-cut barrels are made from a type of oak that is unique to the Jerez region.
The production of Palo Cortado Sherry is a very labor-intensive process, but the resulting wine is well worth the effort.
The wine has a nutty flavor, with notes of almonds and hazelnuts. It is also dry, with a slightly salty finish.
Palo Cortado Sherry pairs well with cheese and nuts, making it an ideal accompaniment to a summer picnic.
Read our related article where we compare Port vs Sherry, their flavors, uses, and more!
How to Tell if Sherry Has Gone Bad
Sherry can go bad in a number of ways.
If the wine tastes sour or vinegary, it has probably turned.
Also, if the color has changed from straw-yellow to brown or black, it is an indication that the sherry has oxidized and is no longer good to drink.
When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and discard any sherry that you are unsure about.
Besides, using old sherry will ruin the dish you’re cooking, so invest in a fresh bottle for good flavor.
We enjoy some types of sherry as a drink but cook with others.
If we’re going to open a bottle of sherry for drinking with friends, we use it up within several days.
Sherry we’ve opened for cooking gets saved with a wine preserver so that we know it will be good for months to come and taste as fresh as the day it was uncorked.