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Passion for Spanish wine

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Boasting a Michelin star and the distinctive Japanese-Mediterranean fusion cuisine practiced by chef Ricardo Sanz, there is no doubt that Kabuki Wellington has put together one of the best wine lists in Madrid. The flagship restaurant in a group which has expanded to the Canary Islands, Málaga or Valencia, its wine selection cannot be seen as very "Spanish" —its main three sources are Jerez, with an increasing focus on fino and manzanilla, Champagne and Riesling.

In order to adapt the wines to its cuisine, Kabuki hired wine expert Juancho Asenjo. Asenjo has stayed on as an advisor to the group, but the day-to-day job was seamlessly continued for several years by sommelier Silvia García Guijarro. Jorge Thuillier is in charge of the wines now.

The selection of international wines at Kabuki Wellington is particularly striking. It does not only boast cult producers like Salon, Selosse, Leflaive or Raveneau; there is also an active search for old vintages in order to serve many of these wines close to their peak.

Apart from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and a special section for the wines of Vega Sicilia, the selection of Spanish wine goes out of the ordinary. In fact, they are sometimes hidden among other wider selections like “Mediterranean wines (from Finca Calvestra Merseguera to Catalan wines like El Rocallis, Pardas or Sota Els Àngels) or “Champagne and other sparklings”. There are independent sections for whites from Castilla y Léon (what a pleasure to see 8 Vírgenes Rufete Blanco, the Malvar from Más Que Vinos or some Albillos from Gredos mixed with notable Verdejo producers like Belondrade or Ossian) and Galicia.

In terms of red wines, Pinot Noir and Gamay head the list although Galicia also has its place. Probably this is the Spanish region which best fits Kabuki’s cuisine given that their reds offer acidity, depth and freshness rather than structure”.

Wines by the glass also define the style of the restaurant. A good example is the Champagne Bruno Paillard Grand Cru, but there are two more sparkling wines by the glass –one of which must be Cava, five whites and five reds including pinot noirs both form Burgundy and Spain, and up to 10 sakes.

Kabuki is the kind of restaurant where you should rely on its team of experts or alternatively explain in advance the kind of experience you are looking for. The Kabuki menu, which usually varies depending on the market’s fresh fish of the day and has lovely nods to Mediterranean dishes like “pa amp tomàquet (bread with tomato)” or squid sandwich, will set you back just over €90. A paired menu is available for an extra €70. Diners can choose between wine, beer and sake or combine different beverages. In fact there’s also a beer-only list with over 20 references and a sake list including 50 different options. A.C.