Last week I went to one of the regular wine tastings at Vino Premier on Calle de Francisco Silvela 25. I probably go to Vino Premier at least once a month and could do so more regularly if I just had the time. Their tastings are all in Spanish and cost between 5€ to 15€ depending on the wine being tasted. They also have an annual membership scheme where all the tastings are free and you get invited to certain member only deals. Well worth it if you enjoy regular catas.
Vino Premier have a chain of shops in Madrid and also do online sales of wines. The place in Francisco Silvela is a mix of bar, wine shop and restaurant. It has a modern but warm decor and the service was friendly. It obviously has a good selection of wines to buy retail or at the bar and it’s wine by the glass selection is not bad.
It does a menu del día in the restaurant at lunch that pairs each course with a different wine. I love this idea and haven’t seen it anywhere else. The price is 12,50€ which is good for that part of Madrid, especially as the wines you are getting are a class above the ordinary. I haven’t yet eaten there, so can’t vouch for the food but it is definitely on the list of things to do. They also do special menus with wine included for fiestas such as Valentines Night.
They do quite a lot of wine tastings about 1-2 a week. Each tasting usually focuses on a single winery or bodega and will look at between 2 to 5 wines depending on the range the bodega cultivates. Usually one or two representatives from the bodega will be at the tasting to give some insight into the wine and how it is made. These are serious wine enthusiasts who know everything there is to know about their particular wine and they’re keen to share this information. The level of detail is incredible, but most use fairly accessible language and are friendly and open. They are all enthusiastic and this is a great place to learn more about particular Spanish wines and the philosophy behind each one..
The other great point about this place is the wines they choose. They range from the standard table wines to some very expensive reserves and exclusive collections. This is a great chance to try wines that I would never buy for myself because they are out of my price range. However most of the wines tried are in the range of 10€ to 25€ per bottle.
These can popular tastings with about 20-30 people at one that I went to, though 10 to 20 is more usual. There were a fair few true wine connoisseurs with qualifications in wine tasting, but there were also many amateur enthusiasts. There is also a group of English speaking expats that go regularly.
On the downside this is a Spanish location. All the tastings are held in Spanish so you need to understand the language. The tastings are held in a mezzanine where noise travels up from the bar below which can make it difficult to hear and concentrate. You do need to concentrate because the preliminary talk about the wine can go on for 15 to 30 minutes before you finally get to taste the wine, though the times are getting shorter. However you learn so much in that time.
These are proper wine tastings as in you get a small glass to try, and half the table did the whole spitting it out thing……the sacrilege! Some of the bodegas share out the remaining wine at the end and some don’t. It is different every week. However, given the incredibly economic price of the tastings, especially if you become a member, there is no reason to complain. All the wines at each tasting are sold at a discount if bought on the night.
I really like this place. If you genuinely wish to learn more about Spanish wines and you speak the language then this place is definitely worth a visit. If all you want is the basics followed by the guzzling of great quantities of wine then Vino Premier is not your style.