Though Sherry is niche today, the wines of the Jerez area have been counted among the world's aristocratic pours at many points in their history, which spans thousands of years. The vicissitudes of the centuries have led to myriad styles and winemaking techniques in Jerez that are largely alien to the rest of wine; in a 1959 travelogue, writer T.A. Layton deemed it "the most complicated-to-explain wine in the world." Wine Spectator's Ben O'Donnell explains.
From the Dec 31, 2013, issue