Passion for Spanish wine


The brainchild of Italian and Barolo wine lover Miguel Prohens, who lived and worked as financial manager for a multinational company in Milan, and Ángel Fontes, a wine enthusiast keen to leave behind the real state sector, Barolo boasts a long list of loyal customers.

They opened their large, two-storey shop close to Berlin Park in the northern district of Chamartín in Madrid in 2004. It was clear from the start that it wouldn't be an ordinary wine store —their aim was to advise customers and "to liven up the atmosphere with appealing wine tastings and events," says co-founder Ángel Fontes.

They began by training their staff with weekly blind tastings so that they could regularly assess wines that were lined up to be part of their portfolio. The process is exactly the same today –the only difference is that the number of wines has more than doubled.

Barolo has around 2,300 wines on offer; most of them are detailed on their website despite the fact they don’t sell online. Even if this is expected to change soon, an online store is not a priority. They are far more concerned about adding value to their portfolio and finding the right wines for their clients.

Although there are large sections devoted to Italy and France (Champagne is a strong point, but there’s interest beyond Burgundy and Bordeux into the Languedoc, Jura or Loire), Spain takes the lion’s share with approximately 1,800 selections showing their increasing diversity of wine regions, styles and grape varieties. “We sell less Rioja and Ribera each year,” points out Ángel Fontes who is particularly proud of their wine selection from northwest Spain (mainly Galicia, Bierzo and Asturias), Levante (Monastrell and Bobal reds) and what he calls “rarities” such as natural and “bio” wines, together with obscure grape varieties like Prieto Picudo or Juan García.

“Our latest pet area is Jerez with more than 60 different wines for sale”, explains Fontes. “The truth is that the more we offer, the more interest we get from our customers.”

Wine tastings and events are a big part of Barolo’s business. In fact, the store was designed in such a way that tastings are held in a wine-friendly environment, with wine aficionados literally surrounded by dozens of bottles.

The monthly program includes an introductory course to wine, a food & wine pairing event, a tasting focused in a specific region, grape or vintage and another one conducted by a producer who presents his wines. Lately they have gone further with a couple of ambitious courses taught over a 10-day period and focused on France and Italy, which have proved very successful. Both of them have been conducted by wine expert Juancho Asenjo.

Not surprisingly, Ángel Fontes concludes: “I’m particularly proud of my knowledgeable customers”. A.C.


Wine tastings in December 2015
Wine tastings in April 2016
Wine tastings in February 2017
Wine tastings in March 2016
Wine tastings in December 2017