Definition - What does Amontillado mean?
Amontillado is a style of Sherry (Jerez) that is aged in oak barrels with a wild yeast called flor. This yeast creates a cap on top of the wine in its barrel and allows for the micro-oxidation and adds to the character of the wine. During fermentation, the wine is fortified sometimes up to 17.5% alcohol.
The Amontillado style of Sherry is made from Palomino grapes.
WineFrog explains Amontillado
In the region of Jerez de la Frontera, located in the southern region of Andalusia, Spain, many different styles of Sherry are made. Locally, the Sherry is called Jerez.
Amontillado is one style that falls in-between Fino and Oloroso. It is known for its dark caramel color and aromas of tobacco and nuts.
This style dates back to the 18th century and is made similarly to the Fino style. In fact, an Amontillado wine starts off as a Fino and is transformed when it is placed in barrels. These barrels are only filled 3/4 full, which allows for the local yeast, known as flor, to inoculate itself inside the barrel. It then creates a layer on the surface of the wine. This aging process is what gives Amontillado its special character and keeps the wine from oxidizing too quickly.
There are two styles of Amontillado. One is dry with approximately 0 to 5 grams of sugar per liter. The other is sweet and can go up to 115 grams of sugar per liter.
Amontillado is recommended to be served slightly chilled as an aperitif. It also pairs well with rabbit and chicken dishes.