The other week I went to my first wine tasting by Eat Out Madrid hosted at The One Wine a boutique shop in Chamberi, Madrid. Eat Out Madrid is an English speaking social group on facebook and Meetup where we residents compare notes on the best places to eat in the city. They also do regular social gatherings where they check out different eateries in the city.
The wine tastings are an irregular event organised by two members with a keen interest in wine. Although the event was hosted at The One Wine boutique it was presented by the members and the wines are selected by them. The one that I went to cost 40€ for a tasting of 4 wines, which is on the pricey side for Madrid. However they had selected high priced Reserva wines from Rioja with price tags of 30€ to 90€ per bottle.
The location itself was cute. I didn’t have much time to walk round the shop or meet with the staff/owners, so couldn’t really comment on the place. It was closed when I arrived and I had to go elsewhere for a drink for 20 minutes waiting for it to open, which was not particularly impressive as we had been encouraged to arrive early and have a drink. Having said that the wine tasting was held in the afternoon at 5.30pm on a weekend which is a very unusual time here in Madrid when basically nowhere is open.
The tasting was in the basement which is like a little wine cellar and looks very picturesque, however it does have that fusty damp smell which most stone basements naturally have which is a bit off putting. When we’d finish the tasting and came back upstairs the place was in full swing. There were several people trying glasses of wine. I don’t know if this was because the shop doubles as a bar or whether they had a separate tasting on. It is quite a small place and there was certainly not enough room for our group of about 10 people so we moved on to elsewhere.
Regards the wines tasted, I will of course write up separate tasting notes for each, but these were mainly heavy matured Rioja reds, so I’m clearly the wrong person to be tasting them as my taste buds refuse to entertain these types of wine (it’s very frustrating). Gabriel, who presented the wines, had done significant research on each one and did a good job of describing each wine, the back ground to the Rioja region and so forth. The event was held in English but he is also a fluent Spanish speaker.
It was on the whole a very pleasant evening. As this is a social group we all went to another bar afterwards to continue drinking and eat together. All very sociable. This I feel is the advantage this group has over other professional outlets. However given the number of wine tastings available in Madrid at a much lower price range, this group may struggle. At 40€ they are competing with the likes of Lavinia who are a much more professional outfit with a wealth of experience behind them and have access to the full range of Spanish and global wines. Having said that Eat Out Madrid have a huge following and rightly so as the facebook group is a Mecca for culinary info. With over 5000 followers I am sure their will be enough interest, but I am unlikely to return unless they pick wines I particularly want to try.