Have been meaning to post for a little while now about one of my new favourite places in Madrid – Media Ración (by Cuenllas). To be found in the Hotel Urso, a stone’s throw from both my actual office and my “other” office (Territorio Era) it is an elegantly appointed, airy space with a fantastic range of wines by the glass and, as the name suggests (half portion for the non Spanish), lots of dinky little dishes to snack on while you imbibe.
It is an outpost (and, for me, a highly accessible outpost) of one of Madrid’s true wine “temples”, Cuenllas, which frankly deserves its own post and will get one when I have the time. For now suffice it to say that Cuenllas is a guarantee of both quality and variety. They have really top drawer wines and victuals of every kind, and occasionally some unique ones, and little brother here isn’t too bad either.
In sherry terms the list was originally small but potent – Amontillado and Oloroso from Bodegas Tradición, Fino and Pedro Ximenez by Maestro Sierra, Manzanilla la Maruja by Piñero, and a quite staggering palo cortado by Equipo Navazos (see above). However, a couple of weeks later the sherrylist is longer and packed with quality: Inocente, La Promesa; Toro Albala 1986; a really good range. Moreover, the sherries form part of an excellent, well chosen wine list covering every style and continent, and with a nice rotation of a dozen or so wines by the glass.
The emphasis is on quality but the variety is fun: yesterday we had a Ridge Zinfandel that was as delicious as it was surprising – aromatic, harmonious and balanced. And even better, there is expert help on hand in the form of the sommelier Amanda, who consistently puts me to the test in the blind tasting stakes (and defeats me let’s be honest) and, if you are lucky, Fernando Cuenllas himself.
Throw in the excellent grub, the chance to try lots of delicious wines and dishes, and friendly, efficient staff and you have the makings of an excellent addition to the Madrid restaurant and wine scene (and if we can convince them to add a few more sherries maybe even the sherry scene too).