Sherry wines have special characteristics that set them apart from other wines. There are occasions when the vintners or ‘bodegueros’ select some that are of particularly high quality and categorised as superior.
Aging is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in choosing a wine. It is obvious that not all batches of wine are good enough to warrant prolonged aging. However, those selected by the bodegas’ tasters for such aging really stand out from the others. It is during the aging that the special notes and tones develop in the specially selected barrels.
V.O.S. & V.O.R.S
The regulatory body (Denominacion de Origen y su Consejo) certifies these wines with the acronyms V.O.S. and V.O.R.S. Basically V.O.S. (“Vinum Optimum Signatum” or “Very Old Sherry”) are those matured for more than 20 years and V.O.R.S. (“Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum” or “Very Old Rare Sherry”) are those that are aged for over 30 years.
The body also oversees and certifies that all correct procedures are carried out during the long barrel aging process to ensure quality of the superior sherries.
Only oxidative (exposed to the air) aging is used in the long aging of V.O.S. and V.O.R.S. The biological aging of wines such as Manzanilla and Fino occurs only under the covering of the yeast layer (velo de flor). The yeast layer loses it’s qualities in long aging and finally disappears. Therefore the wines produced by oxidative aging cannot be produced in this manner. Only oxidative wines can be included in these special categories.