Located between Paseo de la Castellana and the lively Chueca district, Reserva y Cata is a good place to get into wine in Madrid. With around 600 to 700 wines on offer, up to 90% of which are Spanish, wine lovers will find a balanced mix of affordable, every-day wines with classic brands and a few unusual labels made by small producers as a result of the owner’s enduring curiosity.
Ezequiel Sánchez Mateos launched the project with two other partners in 1997. They combined a pioneering online wine store with up to seven wine shops inspired by Oddbins’ business model. In 2005 Ezequiel embarked on a solo career keeping just the current wine store. He also started making export-oriented wines which are obviously available at Reserva y Cata. All of them are affordable wines with eye-catching labels based on indigenous grapes like La Mancha’s Tempranillo Red Horn (€4), Rioja Baja’s Cubista (€6.5), a blend of 50% Garnacha, 50% Tempranillo or Místicas (€7.5), a Garnacha from Calatayud.
It makes sense thus that the wines are classified by price: all labels below €20 in the large back wall and the most expensive ones locked in a display case. There’s an area devoted to Sherry —Ezequiel is really passionate about the Sherry Triangle and a member of Los Generosos club, a group of Sherry lovers who holds most of its tastings and events at Reserva y Cata. No wonder this is one of the few places in Madrid where you can find the whole range of Pitijopos from maverick winemaker Ramiro Ibáñez, as well as the latest releases from the area.
Wine lovers will be thrilled to discover the wines of adventurous Envínate team, Terroir al Limit’s Les Tosses (Priorat) or Ronda’s exotic blend of Austrian varieties by Kieninger. There are natural wines too including Etna’s Frank Cornelissen and Gredos’s Fabio Bartolomei.
Having a little bit of everything seems to be the differentiating factor in this store and reflects Ezequiel’s calm state of mind: “I’ve never been an extremist. I prefer to focus on the good stuff that I really like”.
Apart from wine courses and tastings, there are two unusual activities that can be done at Reserva y Cata: a flamenco show paired with wine called Maridarte and the opportunity to become a winemaker for just a day and receive a prize for the best blend. A.C.