The citizens of Logroño are lucky. As well as having hundreds of Rioja wineries with superb wines a short drive away, they can stroll to several great little restaurants like La Tavina or Tondeluna who care for this lovely beverage. The last one to join this group of vino champions is Wine Fandango, located in a stately home in the centre of the city.
Behind Wine Fandango are brothers Ricardo (Richi) and José Miguel Arambarri, two young entrepreneurs working in wine (Vintae) and construction. Basque chef Aitor Esnal and maitre Beatriz Martínez, who used to run Marinée, a well-respected restaurant in Logroño, accompany them in this new gastrowine adventure.
The idea of opening up this new place was born after the success of Vintae’s wine-bar lookalike stand in Alimentaria fair 2010. Shortly after, a Japanese client asked them for permission to open up a Vintae Wine Bar in Nagoya featuring the company’s informal look, logo and wine portfolio. After many months of building work, license papers and a trip to New York in search of ideas to decorate the place, Wine Fandango finally opened its doors last October based on three key elements: wine, gastronomy and fun.
Aitor’s dishes are based on seasonal locally-grown produce with some avant-garde touches. They are beautifully presented but, above all, they have soul and respect the ingredients with which they are made. The VIP area is not a restricted space but a few seats on the bar with a privileged view of the kitchen where Aitor cooks and serves a tasting menu paired with wine which changes according to his mood.
Wine is treated in a relaxed, uncomplicated manner which by no means implies bad service. On the contrary, diners are provided with quality glassware by trained savvy waiters who serve wines at the correct temperature. The wine list is 100 per cent visual: each and every bottle available at Wine Fandango -around a hundred of them- are exhibited on well-lit shelves at the entrance. Logically, Rioja wines dominate -as well as the Vintae range- but there are also interesting selections from other Spanish and international regions.
There are about 20 wines by the glass to choose from which rotate periodically, but the welcome novelty is their approach to popularizing new ways of drinking and enjoying wine: cocktails, wine flights, vermú torero (it loosely translates as a long and leisurely aperitif) with live music and DJs and wines served in porrón (pitcher).
Luckily, the novelty is not an excuse to increase prices. The weekend menu costs €22 (€20 daily) and the tasting menu with wine included stands at €45. The second phase of the project includes a roof terrace above Wine Fandango which would complement the large one currently available at the entrance of the bar. There will surely be further surprises. Y.O.A.