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Photo by Tara Stevens
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Photo by Tara Stevens
Pura Sangre Tempranillo
One thing we all know about wine is that it’s pretty sexy stuff, even the rough country hooch in the right circumstances. But it’s even sexier when it comes with a vision, which is what wine aficionado Xavi González brings to the table with his new ‘low cost’ wine store in the Raval.
OK, so when he says ‘low cost’ he’s not talking bargain basement—though I did spot a decent bottle of young Rioja for €2.95. Rather, he’s looking for accessibly priced, interesting wines, the majority of which come in under €10. Housed in an old bacalao shop, this is a cheerful, relaxed kind of off-licence, with a small tasting room in the entresuelo where Xavi offers wine tasting courses twice a week (mainly in Castilian), as well as specialist pairing courses with cheese or chocolate. You can also pass by and try a bottle of something different in-store for a mere €1 corkage fee, which seems like a cracking way to start an evening to me.
The choice of the name comes down to something he read by Robert Parker that referred to Bordeaux wines as being sexy. Obvious wines aren’t sexy, Parker argued; to be sexy they must be subtle. And so, in selecting wines for his store, Xavi explains, "I’m not after aggressive, alcohol-heavy wines. I’m looking for wines that are expressive, accessible and open. That’s what is sexy to me—hence the name."
And hence, his predilection for organic, biodynamic and natural wines. "These are the future of Spanish wines," he says, pulling out a bottle of Pura Sangre priced €10.80 from Cuenca, and a Coma Romà from the Penedès priced €7.95, one of two sulphur-free wines currently in stock. "If you think of the way we think about antibiotics in meat, we’ll soon be thinking the same about sulphurs and other chemicals in wine. Spain’s best winemakers tomorrow will be those that protect the land today.”
Xavi also recommends: A deep, luscious tempranillo—Nuestro, Ribera del Duero, €8.90—which earned itself a respectable 94 points in the Peñin Guide. And a highly expressive red from the Empordà—Mas Pòlit, 2009—for lovers of terroir (wines that convey the spirit of the land it comes from).
Beginner: Wednesdays 7.30pm-9.30pm, €95 for 6 weeks, 12 pax max
Advanced: Fridays 7.30pm-9.30pm, €95 for 6 weeks, 12 pax max
Sexy Wine, C/Joaquin Costa 8, tel. 93 329 4938, www.sexywinebcn.wordpress.com, open 4pm-10.30pm.
Between blogs follow my bite-sized tweets at taralstevens (Barcelona).