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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

We recently put some cream Sherry on our list at the restaurant where I work. What makes it a "cream" sherry?

—Lesley M., Jackson, Miss.

Dear Lesley,

Cream Sherry doesn't have any dairy in it, but it is sweet and dark, in the oloroso style. How did it get its name? The story goes that a woman attending a Sherry tasting in the late 1800s sampled a variety of traditional Sherry, which was nicknamed "Bristol's Milk" (named after the British port of Bristol, where Sherry was routinely shipped). After tasting the new, sweeter, more unctuous (and as-yet-unnamed) Sherry, she declared, "If that is milk, then this is cream," and the nickname stuck. Because of its style, cream Sherry is recommended as an after-dinner drink, served over ice or perhaps on the side with a cup of coffee.

—Dr. Vinny


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