Amontillado sherry begins its life as a Fino sherry, but it is subsequently reclassified as amontillado, if the layer of wine yeast (flor) fails to develop adequately during the barrel (solera) maturation. Amontillado is fortified to between 16º and 18º, so that it does not oxidize too quickly. It is fuller and darker than Fino (amber-coloured), with a smoothly-textured palate, suggestive of hazelnuts, over nuances of sea salt. Amontillado spends longer time in the solera than Fino (10-15 years typically).
Amontillados are versatile. Delicious on their own they are equally an accompaniment to soups, especially light meat soups such as consommé. But they also go with seafood, game dishes and meat terrines. The strong acidity backbone of the Amontillados enhances both sweeter aromatic dishes such as tandoori, chilli and oriental dishes and stronger flavours of ham, nuts, olives and cheese. Served cool, but not too chilled.