Spanish love their Wine. We expats are glad to have something in common with them. We have met some amazing friends along the way so far here in Madrid and some of our friends wanted to get together and do something special. In the neighborhood of Pacifico is Bodega J Cuesta owned and operated by Sergio. Michele and her husband Sisco have been patrons of the local establishment and found that not only does he have great wines but he provides wine tastings as well. Assemble all thirsty expats!
We look forward to events like this and had it marked on our calendar for weeks. The big day came and we were ready. The rain could not stop us! Good fellowship and wine equals a great night! As we entered to bodega you can tell the place has character. The walls are lined with wine, there are wines behind the counter, wine in the isles. There is also some history in the place. Articles and clippings of boxers, Futbol stars, and Matadors of old around in frames and taped on the shelves. The bodega is Spanish, traditional, and steeped with tradition.
After everyone gathered Sergio took us downstairs to the basement where he had a big table and, you guessed it, more wine! This wine was old and had lots of dust on it. We asked how much and he said they were not for sale. That was his collection that he would not part with.
Sergio has been tasting wine since he was a child. He had a gift for tasting the flavors of wine for a long time. After a stint selling luxury yachts he was able to afford to purchase the bodega from his friend and boss and come to own the local gem. He has a lot of passion for his work and loves talking about wine. We enjoyed his eloquent discussions of the wines and appreciated Michele's translations.
The most interesting thing I learned was something that had puzzled me since arriving in Spain. The wine quality is as good if not better than in the United States but yet the cost was a fraction. You can get an excellent bottle of wine in Spain for 6 Euro and a decent bottle for 2 Euro. So why to you have to pay so much back home? I thought it was because the Spanish government gave subsidies but the wine is so cheap because there are no taxes. No it is not subsidies but taxes in the United States that make the wine so expensive. So wine is not as expensive to produce as I once thought. The cheap and wonderful wine is a perk of living in Spain. They have some of the highest life expectancy in the world and the cheapest wine prices. Hmm??
We brought our cheese board and Michele and Sisco brought more cheese, Ann brought anchovies pizza and tortilla, and we had olives. According to Sergio it was quite a spread. But we didn't come there for the food. No, we came to taste some wine and that is exactly what we did!
Sergio, our Somalia, had five bottles planned for us on our tasting. (See picture for local Spanish wines). He explained in great detail the history, character, tastes, and composition of each wine in Spanish. As we tasted and participated our cheeks got rosier and our opinions longer winded. By the end of the last wine he said he could get us another bottle out if we wanted. The place went silent and then Trey said "Abrir", To Open in Spanish, and Sergio went up for one more bottle of wine.
We said our goodbyes, Purchased our wines we liked, and let Sergio close up and go back to his family. Sergio runs a local bodega with a neighborhood feel. When asked what is the best thing about Sergio's job he enjoys he says, "it is pairing a wine for a customer and them coming back and telling him how good it was."
Thanks Sergio for connecting people with great wine!