Sherry is perhaps the least understood — and, consequently, most underpriced — wine in the world. Just name one other wine that offers such greatness in a bottle for as little as $10. I’ve racked my brain and can’t think of a single one. Now consider how far a ten-spot normally gets you in the fine wine world. Think Aussie plonk, California rough rider red, and the ubiquitous “international style” chardonnay (whether Australian, American, or French) that’s oversugared and overripe, but has lots of “toasty oak” on the nose to mask its many sins.

Why sherry — the real Spanish sherry that comes only from the countryside around Jerez [see "Sybaritic Spain," above] — should be so unappreciated is a mystery. Perhaps it’s because sherry is a fortified drink. Perhaps it’s because there are so many different types of sherries. Or perhaps it’s simply because the sherry bottlers haven’t moved their product’s image out of the Victorian parlor. Whatever the reason, it’s a great pity that such remarkable wines should be so ignored in America.

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