Txomin Rekondo’s restaurant is a wine lover’s dream. He’s allowed his cellar to get completely out of control. With 150 000 wines, and a wine list that consists of a large book, you really need to arrive an hour early just to browse it and make your selection. You can get wines from around the world here, but the highlight is the extremely deep selection of Spanish wines, with multiple vintages and some remarkable prices that are well below market value for many wines.
Richard Hemming, Xavier Rousset and I hatched a plan to go and dine separately from the official congress dinner – after all, we were all here for the first time and we only had one night to play with. So we asked Ferran Centelles for advice: there is only one place to go, was his response. Rekondo. So he booked for us, and joined us along with David Molina and Sarah Jane Evans. And a few more. In the end we made a party of 12, so plenty of scope for some interesting wines. We initially set a nominal limit of 50 Euros per bottle to keep things from going crazy, which left plenty of scope for interesting old bottles, so good is the pricing here. But this limit was broken a few times!
With all this great wine it’s easy to overlook the food, but this was excellent. Unfussy, delicious, authentic. Pictured above is my suckling pig.
We began with beer. Keler 18: textured, rich, a bit spicy, boldly flavoured lager style. 6.5% alcohol and very good. This was followed by a white, the only one of the evening, and then a load of reds, heading back into the 1960s. It is remarkable how good the 1964s are.
Pazo de Senorans 2006 Rias Baixas, Spain
Tight with dense citrus and pear fruit, as well as some spiciness and just a hint of oak influence. Lovely texture and nice grapefruit highlights. White Bordeaux style, almost. 91/100
Finca Sandoval 2004 Manchuela, Spain
Sweet, spicy, tarry and dense with warm, rich plummy fruit. It’s ripe and forward, but has definition and structure, and is ageing very nicely. Lovely ripe style. 92/100
Cune Vina Real Crianza 1964 Rioja, Spain
Beautifully perfumed: sweetly aromatic with some cherry, a hint of soy sauce, some tar. The palate is silky, smooth and pure with cherries and plums. Finely spiced and beautifully elegant, this is a remarkable wine. 97/100
Muga Rioja Gran Reserva 1970 Rioja, Spain
Earth, spice, iodine and herbs to the fore in this mature wine, which shows some cherry fruit and notes of meat. There’s still a bit of life in it but it is now fully mature. 89/100
La Rioja Alta 904 Crianza 1968 Rioja, Spain
Very fine, perfumed nose with notes of herbs, tea, red cherries and undergrowth. The palate shows iodine, earth, spice and herbs, with some lemony acidity. Fresh and quite elegant, this is a lovely mature wine. 93/100
La Rioja Alta 904 Crianza 1964 Rioja, Spain
Supple and fine with elegant cherry fruit and some herbiness. Silky and expressive with some iodine and fine herbs. Expressive, elegant and pure. 96/100
Pesquera Reserva 1985 Ribera del Duero, Spain
Spicy, warm and intense with some earth and undergrowth notes. Damson and plum fruit on the palate. Savoury, grippy, slightly drying palate. Lots of interest here, and a steal at 35 Euros on the list. 93/100
Contino 1985 Rioja, Spain
Hints of earth, mushroom and spice here with a bit of rubber. Drying on the palate with mushrooms, earth and mint, as well as a bit of raspberry and cherry fruit. Possibly not a great bottle. 88/100