ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the alcohol content in Barchester Cream? I don’t think you can get it now, but my mother liked it, and I’m interested to find out how strong it was.

—June S., United Kingdom

Dear June,

I wasn’t able to track down a cream Sherry called Barchester, but I just know that someone out there has a forgotten bottle of Barchester Cream in a cupboard. Can that person please look it up and shoot me a note? In the meantime, I can talk about Sherry in general.

First off, have you noticed how Sherry is all the rage these days? WineSpectator.com members can read my colleague James Molesworth’s recent Sherry tasting report and my other colleague Ben O’Donnell’s ABCs of Sherry. I’ve also covered the points that “dry” Sherry isn’t in powdered form and cream Sherry doesn’t have any dairy in it.

Sherry is a fortified wine, which means that, like Port, it has a small amount of distilled spirits added to it. That makes the alcohol content higher than most table wines, but not drastically so. Most Sherries clock in from about 15 to 22 percent alcohol by volume, while most table wine is in the 12 to 15 percent range.

—Dr. Vinny


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