Passion for Spanish wine


Having hosted customers at classic Madrid restaurants like Príncipe de Viana, El Amparo and Aldaba, Luis Garcia de la Navarra is a very well-known sommelier in the city. In December 2011 he joined forces with his brother and chef Pedro to start Vinoteca García de la Navarra, which is located on the edge of the capital’s tourist route.

Wine is all around, beginning with the name (vinoteca means wine bar) and continuing with corks used with decorative purposes, so evident from the moment you set foot in the place. Wines by the glass shown on a big blackboard change every week and although they usually range from €3 to €5, it is not uncommon to find some high-end suggestions. Another selling point is the "wine of the week”, offered at retail prices.

The wine list is large with roughly 900 different brands, something you may not initially expect. “I think I deserve this because wine is my hobby. What’s better than being able to turn my hobby into business?”, says Luis.

Spanish regions are well represented on the Vinoteca’s reasonably priced wine list, with local and foreign selections, varied styles (sherry, sweet and fortified wines are not neglected at all), and classical producers as well as newcomers. It’s worth checking specific sections such as those focused on vertical tastings, large formats and old vintages (especially Riojas from the 60s, 70s and 80s). The latter will be growing in the future so keep in mind that this is a place to enjoy old wines.

On the culinary side managed by Pedro, the mix of a lively non-stop bar that starts serving breakfast at 7am and a 17-table restaurant based on seasonal products and traditional cuisine has proved highly successful. Some of the most popular dishes are croquettes, Spanish pisto (ratatouille) with fried egg, salted anchovies from Santoña (Santander), tripe or patatas a la importancia, a traditional dish made with potatoes. A selected network of suppliers provide high-quality seasonal products like vegetables from Navarre, tomatoes from Tudela, tuna from Tarragona and Cadiz, or roosters from Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia). These are traditional dishes that remind us Spaniards of what we ate at home until not so long ago, recipes for which we don’t have the time or the skills to cook now.

Hence, La Vinoteca is likely to appeal to foreign visitors willing to try Spanish home-style cuisine. Its location helps: Vinoteca is in the heart of Madrid’s tourist area, between Cibeles and Alcalá, next to City Hall and just a stone’s throw away from the Prado and Thyssen Museums. A.C.