MoVida Aqui: an impromptu sherry masterclass

Although I know one or two things about sherry, my only memory of fortified wine is embezzling a sip of my Nana’s Pale Cream. Unfortunately this doesn’t qualify me to be a sherry expert.

Recently I’ve noticed the inclusion of sherries on many restaurants’ wine lists. Words like Manzanilla and Oloroso are becoming more and more familiar.  In an attempt to come to grips with this global fortified wine phenomenon a night at MoVida Aqui seemed compulsory.

You know you’re in very good hands when you sheepishly admit to a MoVida sommelier that you’re behind the sherry eight ball, and their eyes light up.

Liz Carey – MoVida Aqui’s manager and sommelier – obviously likes a challenge. She listened to our dilemma and quickly devised a degustation menu – a tapas and sherry extravaganza – for the uninitiated.

Under her deft tuition we explored a gamut of styles. Manzanillas, Finos and Olorosos – obligatory tapas companions – were put to the test, and one thing’s for certain; these dryer style wines are extremely food friendly.

To say we enjoyed the Aceitunas (mixed olives), Anchoa (anchovy fillet with   smoked tomato sorbet) and Bocadillo De Calamares (mini calamari burgers) was an understatement. I seem to recall wielding my fork – in true matador style – to secure the last Gordal olive; some things are worth fighting for.

The biggest surprise of the evening, after traversing the fortified landscape – from salty dry finos to toffee driven PXs – was the realisation that both savoury and sweet foods are sherry compatible. Never once during our meal did we leave the towns of Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa Maria.

The service at MoVida Aqui reminded me of what Paul Grieco (owner of Hearth and Terroir in New York) says about sommeliers; the best are humble.

Full marks to Liz Carey who welcomed us into the exciting world of sherry; thanks to her genuine interest in fortified wines, we’re no longer behind the eight ball.

Bon aperitif

Mandy Rowe


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