Wednesday, 24 June 2015

24.6.15 Review of “El Misterio del Palo Cortado”

Produced by Antonio Saura and directed by José Luís López Linares, it is a 90 minute documentary in Spanish with subtitles.

Antonio Saura and Jose Luis Lopez Linares
This impressive and charming film will do wonders for the promotion of Sherry and its enjoyment. Through the voices of many of the characters in the Sherry business, it subtly gets the message across that Sherry is not remotely stuffy, and that it has a complexity and history far beyond that found in other great wines. It is also one of the most natural wines, hence the mystery.

There are roundtable sessions with winemakers and other experts passionately discussing this mystical liquid. There are Michelin starred chefs inspired to create new food matches. There are cellarmasters demonstrating all the cask markings and bodega procedures. There are lovely interludes of old film recalling the methods and bodegas of the past. There are even interludes with flamenco – suitably fuelled with Sherry of course, and music from Manuel de Falla.

If this sounds scrappy, it is not. The film succeeds in transmitting the fascinating and inimitable atmosphere of Jerez through beautiful photography, and impassioned dialogue leaving you spellbound and wishing it would never end. It certainly made a deep impression on the filmmakers themselves. So is the mystery solved? That would be a terrible shame.

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