In March we made the decision to deviate from our usual route to Montilla-Moriles. Instead of flying to Malaga this time we landed in Madrid.
A first for both of us, but luckily we have a local on hand to expertly guide us through the highlights of the restaurants, wine and sherry establishments in the capital.
Our man on the ground is no other than Andrew Ward, a blogger who writes about Sherry and wines from Montilla-Moriles, also known as #theotherplace, at undertheflor.com.
He tweets as @undertheflor and is originally from Manchester, England but Madrid has been home to him for over 15 years now.
Well what a tour he had lined up for us! We started off at Territorio Era in the Mercado de Barcelo who serve over a hundred wines by the glass. This impressive gem of a restaurant is only 29 square metres in size and is run by the knowledgeable sommelier David Trillo, while the food is expertly prepared and cooked by Diego Benito.
They also have a small selection of wines from Montilla-Moriles. The Perez Barquero Vermouth Casero and the Bodegas Robles Piedra Luenga Organic Oloroso is used in cooking some of the dishes.
The choice of food and wine is incredible but both Andrew and David were more than happy to make recommendations.
We started with a Precede Miraflores 2013, a result of a collaboration between Cota 45 and Taberna Der Guerrita. Andrew reviewed it here and what a fantastic wine to start with on what would become truly memorable evening.
Next up was a fantastic Manazanilla Velo Flor from Bodegas Alonso followed by the La Panesa Fino from Bodegas Hidalgo in Jerez.
We then moved onto two pieces of liquid history, a Domecq La Ina Fino bottled in 2008 and the Gonzalez Byass El Rocio Manzanilla bottled in 2001.
In true Spanish tradition, these fantastic wines were accompanied by a couple of tapas. Based on this experience, we decided to come back the following day for lunch.
Next on the agenda was a brief stop at Angelita who have a really impressive wine list. The Encrucijado was our wine of choice as it is intriguingly made with 6 different grapes. A creation of Ramiro Ibañez it comprises of 50% Palomino Fino with the rest made up of 5 old grape varietals. It is well worth reading Andrew’s thoughts on it here. This is somewhere we definitely need to come back to on our next visit to Madrid.
Our next treat was truly a step back in time to the 1930’s.
Time definitely seems to have stood still at La Venencia, an old traditional sherry bar with it’s dusty bottles taking pride of place on the shelves. All of the sherries are served from the barrel and unfortunately taking photos inside the bar is not permitted however we found one courtesy of tripadvsor.co.uk above. We enjoyed the house Fino and Amontillado (from Emilio Hidalgo in Jerez) with some more tapas.
Our last stop was La Malaje which saw us return to the 21st century. This is indeed a memorable place that is now held close to our hearts.
Manu Urbano, from Cordoba province, is the chef and his fabulous dishes are paired not only with the wines of Montilla-Moriles but the wines are also used in the cooking of his dishes.
We enjoyed 3 fabulous wines from Bodegas Luque in Dona Mencia. The Fino el Pato , Fino el Pato Especial en Rama and El Abuelo ( the Grandfather) Amontillado from the original 1888 solera.
A bodega we definitely need to visit when we return to the region as these were fabulous wines to enjoy and perfect for pairing with the food.
To finish our wonderful evening with Andrew, and to celebrate his birthday the previous day, Manu treated us with a bottle of Talayón Brut NV, a 100% Chardonnay sparkling wine produced near to Jerez.
Our second day in Madrid started with an open top bus tour, beers in the sun and a tour of Real Madrid’s stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu.
Due to our sightseeing, we ended up having dinner at Territorio Era instead of lunch and what a delight it was. David and Diego treated us to a fantastic evening of food matched perfectly with wines including our first taste of a wine from Jura.
To finish our meal Diego put together of fabulous steak dish in front of us matched with a lovely Tempranillo.
In our opinion Territorio Era is a must visit if you are in Madrid.
We finished the evening with a visit to the Taberna Palo Cortado which we were too late to visit the night before. This is a sherry, tapas and wine bar that also stocks wines from Montilla-Moriles. Again this is another place that we will need to return to in the future.
We have not even scratched the surface of exploring Madrid during these 2 days. A huge huge thank you to Andrew for taking time to host us. He really was a fantastic host and guide so much we must give him an early warning, we will return!