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Passion for Spanish wine

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Wines in the Sherry Triangle are going through a renaissance. New York sommeliers serve them in cocktails or by the glass and Sherry bars spring up in London making words like Fino en Rama or Amontillado part of the vocabulary of many consumers who have been mostly focused on still wines until recently.

Behind this revival lies the tireless work from professionals like Paqui Espinosa, a friendly and approachable woman with 20 years of experience who had the courage and vision to launch a Sherry bar in Madrid serving Andalusian dishes.

She opened her small venue, located close to the Palacio Real, in 2015 and called it Taberna Palo Cortado. The understated décor and warm atmosphere inspired in the charm of a classic taberna -including a small counter to enjoy some tapas- are also present in its new location in Espronceda street.

The wine list compiled by Paqui pays tribute to Sherry. Over 30 Finos and Manzanillas available on full bottles and by the glass with prices ranging from €1.80 for a glass of Manzanila Alegría (Willliams & Humbert) to €18 for a 25GF (Gaspar Florido), a rare Fino Amontillado with an average age of over 80 years. Her Amontillado selection —over 20 of them— and the dozen or so Olorosos available span different styles and brands, many of them hard to find outside of the Sherry Triangle. The wine list also includes a good array of Palo Cortados and some sweet wines, all of them available by the glass too.

For those who have not yet discovered the fascinating world of Sherry, Paqui offers a small selection of Spanish whites and reds plus the odd bottle from Champagne, Jura and Tokaj.

The pleasure of drinking these wines is multiplied when they can be enjoyed with the tapas and southern dishes served at Palo Cortado. Classics such as tortillita de camarones or shrimp fritters (€2.50), papas aliñás con melva, a potato salad with tuna which is delicious in the summer (12 €) and oxtail (€20) are available as well as other not-so-classic dishes such as anchovies with a Tasty Sauce —made with vinegar and oriental products— or a delicious cod and orange salad (€14) which Paqui paired with Fino Tradición.

Her idea is to “bring in new dishes every season based on easily recognizable flavours, with citrus, wood, herbs and spicy nuances —flavours which pair well with the wines we serve here”. Y.O.A.

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