If you love wine and happen to be in Madrid, you MUST spend an evening at Lavinia, arguably the best wine outlet in the Spanish capital. Seek out Pedro who knows his wine and speaks English and you are in for a great time.
I telephoned Lavinia from my hotel one evening and booked a table in their upstairs restaurant for nine. I got there before eight and asked Pedro to show me some good Cava. “What is your favourite” he asked me. I like Juve y Camps but I wanted try something different. In the upstairs bar with wine barrels for tables, he poured me a flute of Castellroig Grand Reserva – a blend of Xarel-lo and Macabeo aged for 36 months in the ancient cellars of Sabate i Coca family in Sant Sadurni D’Anoia in Catalonia. It was rich, elegant and yeasty and I loved it. He placed olives and salted almonds in front of me and filled my glass again.
I asked for As Sorte 2011 – the magical Godello from Bierzo. Pedro smiled and nodded his approval as he poured the fragrant, apple green wine, appropriately in to a Riedel Montrachet glass. The wine I thought, would hold its own against any White Burgundy.
Then he poured Pazo Senorans 2006 Seleccion de Anada, pure Albariño from Rias Baixas, kept on lees for 30 months and bottle aged for another 12.
I sat down to dinner and as I waited for the food to arrive, he poured me Manzanilla La Gitana. “It’s on the house” he smiled. I drank Lacima 2008, a Mencia from Dominio di Bibei in Ribeira Sacra aged for 20 months on lees in French oak and a further 18 in bottle with my simple sausage and beans and to end the meal, Pedro produced a bottle of 2005 Mont-Ferrant Carme Ruscalleda Gran Reserva “CR 20”. it was his last bottle and it was a Cava like no other I had before.
It was well past midnight when I started walking back to my hotel. The streets were still buzzing. So was I.