Saturday, May 31, 2014

Eixample's Monvínic - A Wine Aficionado's Paradise

By Javier Castillo - May/31/2014

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” - Ernest Hemingway

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First things first, you probably wont find another establishment with a larger collection of impressive international wines nor a friendlier staff with vast expertise in viticulture and enology in all of Barcelona other than MonvínicMonvínic - as the name implies - is a world of wine. But, in actuality it's more than that 
delicious fermented grape juice we have all learned to love. It's a unique hidden treasure trove off of Rambla de 
Catalunya street; an inviting and spacious temple for wine and food buffs. Modern and classy, this center 
comprises a progressive culinary space, research library, storage cellar, wine bar among other things.

The idea behind Monvínic goes back to 2008 when it was founded by Sergi Ferrer-Salat who also owns the Ferrer Bobet winery in the Priorat wine region - not far from Barcelona city. A year after its opening, the restaurant was a finalist in the prestigious FAD Award for Interior Design. The brains behind striking interior is Barcelona's own Alfons Tost. It's a comfortable space defined by an alluring and tasteful design that exudes a certain kind of peacefulness - with unintrusive lighting, comfortable spaces and a harmonious flow that helps one feel at ease. It's the kind of place you come to decompress in the company of like-minded individuals with a passion for great food and wine... and the sort of place you want to do that for hours upon hours. Nothing here feels rushed, careless or unwelcoming; and the staff - young, knowledgeable enologists - help emit a rather relaxing vibe in their attentive and warm character. These people are passionate about wine and love sharing their expertise and proficiencies. My kind of people as I feel drinking wine should be a learning experience as well as a pleasurable one.

Take for example, César Canovas, who was awarded the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy Best Sommelier 2011. César, besides being one of Spain's greatest Sommelier is a kind and personable person, eager to please and happy to provide the best guidance when you need a wine recommendation. This might be needed as you'll find it tough - overwhelming perhaps - to make a single appropriate selection from their touch-screen handhelds that contain more than 3.500 wines from around the world.

The menu, although a bit pricey for Barcelona standards, offers an impressive and  selection of various small platters made of the most tasteful Mediterranean ingredients - elegantly crafted so that each dish is easily sharable. Some of my personal favorites include the cured sobrassada and apple on toastCal Tomàs tender caramelized roast beef shank (the meat is slowly braised for 8 hours) and of course the local assortment of Catalan cheeses. But rest assured any dish you choose will be sumptuous and can be perfectly accompanied by a glass of wine which any staff member can recommend. If a glass is not enough (and often times it isn't, let's not kid ourselves) and you want a bottle, a great local wine from the Coste de Segre region that pairs magnificently with both fish and meat dishes is the Geol 2010, a well-rounded and sophisticated red with a soft touch of wood on the nose.

For those of you coming this summer you will be glad to know that they have just opened their new zen-like courtyard terrace so you can dine outside.

Calle Diputació 249
08007 Barcelona
+34 932 726 187  
More information:

Schedule: Tuesday to Friday
Library: 11.00h – 23.00h
Wine bar: 13.00h – 23.00h
Culinary space: 13.30h – 15.30h and 20.00h – 22.30h