To tell you the truth, I normally enjoy wine without thinking too much about the food I have with it. But this week in two ocassions I realized how a a wine becomes sensational thanks to something one is eating and viceversa, how sometimes food is wondrously enhanced by a certain wine.

The first perfect match was in Casa Hortensia, a classic restaurant from Asturias in the heart of Madrid. The old fashioned waiter brought automatically a plate of Cabrales cheese to our table as an apetizer, together with village bread, an “hogaza”. Without anticipating the cheese, we had ordered Viña Albina Reserva 2000, a trustworthy, elegant Rioja, very well priced. It comes from Bodegas Riojanas, one of the most respected and traditional companies in the region. The unplanned combination of Cabrales cheese, bread and wine was heavenly and ordering anything else we devoted our full attention to enjoying this miracle.

The second unexpected “perfect match” was a combination of Son Bordils Negre 2002 with red mullets in gelée sauce in El Bodegón, perhaps the best restaurant in Madrid today. Its house wine is actually Viña Albina, but since I was there with two wine mavens who already know Rioja upside down, I chose Son Bordils, a new wine from Majorca. This wine was made for the first time in 1998 in the plains of Inca, in an area where wine has been produced since the XIII century. I had tried it a few summers ago in Valldemossa and had become a favorite Majorcan, together with Anima Negra. Son Bordils is a very modern, direct, expressive wine, with an intriging touch of sulphur. But we really started to rave about it when we tasted it together with the red mullets. It was a glorious trip to a Mediterranean summer night.