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Barcelona Wine Bar Review – Monvinic

We get a lot of requests for reviews of places, wines, and occasionally, a hotel or two. However, the new chic wine bar in downtown Barcelona called Monvinic, takes the cake. A few months ago, we started receiving requests to review this swanky wine bar. And from what little I had read online, as the website is less than informative, it appeared to be interesting and innovative place for a wine geek looking to explore fine wines.  But due to the EWBC, and various prior engagements, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when we could actually check out the place, with a group of friends in tow.

Arriving early, while the rest of group was maneuvering the various train schedules, my first impression started off poor. Walking up to two large, what appear to be, glass windows, I searched in vain for an entrance. Walking back and forth, I searched for a way to get in, even going so far as walking into the adjacent apartment building, hoping to find a side door. No luck. And just as I was about to give up, I decided to give it one last shot. Peering into the window, slowly inching my face towards the glass, the huge window/door slide open. As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, the employees were watching me search for the entrance, and just stood and stared without helping me. UGH, strike one!

From the moment you walk in, you immediately realize that this is to be an UBER-modern experience. From the front entrance halfway down the left side, you have a unique glass library of sorts with a wide range of wine books lining the room. I suppose this is very nice and interesting, but I’m not sure a lot of people come out for a drink with the intention of picking up “The Oxford Companion to Wine“. Then again, this is not a fault. Actually, some of us bigger wine geeks might enjoy having a place like this to meet and talk.

However, in an obvious state of confusion, it took quite awhile before anyone decided to talk with me, as I wandered looking for either my friends or a place to sit down. Eventually, I was greeted in English, which moved to Spanish, and guided to a bench on the right side of the room with modular cubes and tables that worked to create an organic setting depending on your group size. Handed a tablet computer, the waitress explained that all the wines can be searched by style, price, color, grape, region, soil….etc, etc. It was fun to see wines I had not seen in Spain before, such as a Turley Zinfandel and obscure South African wines. I was also impressed by the choices and enjoyed browsing through the menu. The only flaw I noticed was as you navigated inwards, you occasionally hit dead ends.

The list is wide ranging, and for someone who lives in Spain, this is a treasure since it’s unusual for us to have so many choices. That said, for anyone visiting from abroad, you come to Spain to taste Spanish wine, don’t you? The Spanish selection was decent and included wines from regions that you don’t usually see on a menu, but wasn’t anything to write home about. That said, I won’t criticize them on this aspect, and instead, emphasize the fact that they have a great wine list for a wine geek.

Yet despite the modern sleek design and diverse wine menu, I most likely will not return. When our group had all arrived, we decided to start off with a bottle of white. Turning to the electronic menu, I chose a 2006 Clos Nelin from Clos Mogador, an interesting Spanish white, big in body and unique in style, from the Priorat region. My idea was to give my visiting guests something they wouldn’t expect. Made with Viogner, Pinot Noir and Granatxa Blanca, it’s a wine without peers.

Having taken our order, the waiter promptly prepared a large square fish tank with ice and water; a bit of an overkill, but stylish nonetheless. Approximately 10 minutes later, nice glassware was placed before us, followed by the wine, which was taken out of the large fish tank and poured into my glass. Following the tradition, I quickly took a sniff, but before I could even taste the wine, he began filling the rest of the glasses without even looking at me. Clearly, I was a bit shocked, but decided to let it go. I’ve been to places with much less style, who at the very least, had a serving protocol in place. It seemed rather strange to not allow the person who ordered the wine, sample it, especially on a bottle that ran 50+ euros. But sadly, that wasn’t even the worst of it. When I tasted the wine, it was warm. Clos Nelin, from the Priorat, is an elegant wine that needs to be chilled to show off its complexity, due to it’s 14.5% alcohol. This wine was served at red wine temperatures, and consequently, was disjointed, out of balance and hard to swallow.

But I had no fear, because I was in a wine bar, where despite their slip up on their wine service, would clearly understand the issue with temperature. After a struggle to get his eye, the waiter finally made his way back to us. And after I explained the problem, one that could have been solved if I had had the chance to taste the wine before he poured, I was promptly told I was wrong. “But sir, the wine came from the cellar at the right temperature.” Strike 2 and 3.

After our server left, we continued talking, while the remaining half of the bottle cooled down in its glass fish tank for approximately 15 minutes. And sure enough, it was a wonderful wine when served at the right temperature. Worth every penny! But next time, I’ll bring it home and serve it myself.

And although I haven’t been able to give them a chance to redeem themselves, Gabriella did go back a few nights ago, having ordered a few whites ‘by the glass’; but unfortunately, her review wasn’t much better. The wine service was similar to our first experience, and when she had tried to find the bathroom, she passed it three times in vain, as it too was a sliding wall. Tricky! But rather inconvenient when your single desire is to simply find, and use, the facilities.

Here’s my recommendation. If you want to appear to know a lot about wine, wile sitting in a “stylish new bar”, this place is for you. If you want, on the other hand, to fall in love with wine, go elsewhere. After our Monvinic experience, we stood in line at C24, a small restaurant just a few blocks away and ordered a few fantastic tapas and a bottle of Mestres Visol Cava, which was served at the correct temperature, despite the busy night. If you stop in, try the rabbit ribs, as they’re amazing! Not to mention, in the middle of what was an incredibly crazy and hectic Tuesday night at C24, they took the time to pour me a sample of the wine, asked what I thought of it, and above all, smiled.  Home run!

Cheers,

Ryan Opaz

Update: See this post for Ryan’s Return to Monvinic

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  • Bill

    UMMM, Rabbit Ribs. . .

  • http://lasegundadivision.blogspot.com Arch Bell

    Oh boy… Sounds like you were the victim of the oh so common snooty wine bar. What a bummer. The thing is, they probably make tons of money off hot-shot Barcelona business execs who want to be wowed with a “pija” and “de moda” place to go and drink wine. Someone's gotta pay for those sliding doors! Olvidalo!

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Sadly it's not the “pija” part that gets me, it's the part where they don' t even know how to properly present a bottle of wine to a customer…No wine service makes for a bad wine bar!

  • http://www.ourwinestory.com Dylan

    I'm sorry you had such an awful time. It had so much potential in the beginning of your description. It reminded me of the allure that many book shop/cafes carry in the US–except this time, you can trade in the coffee for wine. However, based on your review I don't think this is the spot to make said trade.

  • Joe Manekin

    Oh well, all these new wine bars and restaurants can't be winners, I suppose. Further, I'd say that the flashier places, with the fancy buildouts in excess of $1M and the prime locations, overwhelmingly tend to underwhelm and deliver minimal value, as well as offer very little in the way of a warm, friendly atmosphere. All style, no substance, if you will. I'm glad that you were able to salvage the evening at C24.

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  • Pep Vallbé

    Unfortunately this kind of experience is not quite a surprise for the us who live around. i don't know why Barcelona is so prone to snobbish and unworthy places, specially for wine and food. I've had similar experiences in both wine bars and wine shops here.

  • http://casavides.com Emilio Saez van Eerd

    Wine bars in general still have a long way to go. I wonder when there will be a “Calle Laurel” for wines. Spain has enough variety. Imagine a town like Barcelona, with about 50 wine bars in a row in one street, each one serving one wine only (and any kind of tapa to go with the wine). You could hop from bar to bar and pick out the ones based on the wine they serve. If it works in Logorño with tapas, why wouldn't it work in a town like Barcelona with wine. If I was a tourist, I definitely would hang out there very night until I had tried all wines at least once. How simple can it be?No that is a concept I would like for our wines!!!Actually it is a great idea, and I haven't even had any wine with my meal today! ;-)

  • gabriellaopaz

    Thanks for your comment Pep! Interestingly, I would say that poor customer service is an issue of Spain; but from my experience, I've seen snobby behavior no matter where I travel – especially high end restaurants or bars. As Joe so accurately pointed out, the more expensive the built-out, the poorer the service. Hence, there is an illogical correlation between money and importance, making your everyday Joe feel unwelcome to simply try a new wine the minute he/she walks in the door. Having entered Monvinic the other night in nice/casual attire, I can most assuredly tell you that I was not welcomed, as expressed by the up and down stare complete with a crinkled nose. You could almost hear the host saying, “Dear Lord, please tell me this woman is NOT staying”. That said, in several other restaurants/bars throughout Spain, the bill may have taken 30 minutes to arrive, but the server was generally attentive, sincere and helpful. In all honesty, a minimal level of kindness and sincerity is all I ask.

  • Pep Vallbé

    Hi Gabriella, I think you're right, and it's true: I sometimes just look for a smile and a correct service of food and wine. You hit the point talking about a general issue in Spain, but I am a bit ashamed Barcelona does not offer a higher level. I must say I had a similar experience in Vila Viniteca.

  • Isabelle Brunet

    Hello Ryan,My name is Isabelle Brunet and as responsible of the team of sommeliers at Monvinic, I sincerely apologize for the bad experience you had at the wine-bar. Each one of us feels concerned and this is exactly what we want to avoid. Monvinic is a very seductive project which started many years ago with a lot of passion. Actually, we are grateful to receive your comments, because they can help us to improve our service and see criticisms as a constructive way to do better.We are really sorry because our aim is to make this place accessible to everyone.I would like to invite you to come back and I would personally explain to you our project which is much more than just a wine-bar.Best regards,Isabelle

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

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  • Kelley

    Hi Gabriella and Ryan:I read your post. We were the other part of your party that evening and had the most fantastic time. For all American tourists wanting to take part in upscale wine tasting, this did not seem the place to be. We also felt that we did not belong at this bar as there was an executive meeting at the same time. I seem to remember that you had to walk through their dinner party to use the bathroom. All-in -all we were happy to leave and relax at c24 where we had a fabulous time.

  • gabriellaopaz

    It was fabulous to meet you as well Kelley, and we truly hope to catch up again upon our return to MN. Take care and please don't hesitate to leave more thoughts and comments on the site whenever the mood strikes you :-)

  • claudio hoyos

    For me Monvinic was a great experience. Wines, service and food fulfilled my expectations each time I have been there. Since then, I recommend it to my wine lovers friends and everybody gets very excited to say the least with the experience. Great atmosphere and design, beautiful cellar, storage wine conditions impeccable and unique concept that Barcelona has been waiting for ages.. The city deserves “centros culturales” like this one. And what a delicious real Catalan food! Besides that, did you realized that it is the only place where you can enjoy good wines in Barcelona at a very inexpensive prices? They are barely more expensive than retail price! And this is what wine lovers want ….Did you have some time to enjoy the library with a glass of wine? Really amazing So my recommendation goes for a second visit.

  • Jose

    Perdona que me explique en castellano .Mi ingles escrito no es bueno.So y un propietario de 4 bodegas en distintas denominaciones de origen ( rioja, navarra, rías baixas , ribera de Duero )He visitado hace unos días Monvinic. Soy de Madrid y venia por asuntos de trabajo a Barcelona .Aproveche un rato libre para colarme es este lugar “Mágico”La primera impresión es de sorpresa cuando veo un local tan elegante y bonito en Barcelona y ¡además! , dedicado exclusivamente al vino .Estas cosas solo las ves en Londres , Paris ,Nueva York, Tokio…Lo primero que hice antes de ponerme realizar las típicos comentarios con los amigos sobre un local tan innovador y “impresionante” fue preguntar a la persona que está allí , que me explique la filosofía del lugar. Cuando me la explico ,es cuando empecé a comprender muchas cosas que anteriormente ni por asomo podía imaginarme .El que te expliquen las cosas hace ,si cabe, que conectes emocionalmente con lo que allí hay y comprendas la razón de su existir .ME di cuenta que este lugar se había creado para poder ofrecer un servicio exclusivo y donde la norma principal era cuidar hasta los más pequeños detalles .Si es cierto que es un lugar solo apto para personas con sensibilidad que sepan profundizar en las pequeñas cosas y tengan la capacidad de osbservar esos detalles tan sutiles .Me gusto ver un local tan grande , tan elegante y donde se nota que ha habido una gran inversión económica .Eso no hace más que alegrarme y aplaudir que personas amantes de los vinos adoren estas iniciativas que ennoblecen el producto que tanto sacrificio nos cuesta conseguir.Me quede sorprendido ver una biblioteca con maravillas de libros , en varios idiomas .Desde luego recomendare a mis enólogos que aprovechen cuando vengan a Barcelona, el pasarse por aquí, a ojear lao fabulosas textos que allí puede ver .Yo creía que había leído bastante pero viendo los libros Australianos , franceses,¬-Italianos etc. sobre viticultura y técnicas de elaboración de vino ,que allí se encontraban , sufrí de golpe una cura de humildad.Hablando de elaboraciones , me gusto ver la cantidad de vinos nacionales e internacionales que llenaban los huecos de la bodega y se plasmaban en unas maravillosas cartas electrónicas ,con fotos etc. .Incluso me sorprendió el ver vinos de dos bodegas nuestras , Un albariño y un Ribera de Duero en la carta y con mi foto. Me impacto ver nuestro vino a 20€ .En pocos sitios de Barcelona he encontrados mis vinos a ese precio .El albariño ,repito ,estaba a 20 € cuando lo normal es estar en un local como este a 30€ o más .La comida fue increíble , la calidad primaba sobre todo lo demás. Incluso , La calidad humana de las personas que allí se encuentran y las ganas que tienen de agradar al cliente , me sorprende positivamente. .Mirando la carta de vinos me di cuenta de la gran cantidad de oportunidades que uno tiene para poder descubrir tesoros en el mundo. Tome un espumoso ingles que me maravillo . Son de esos productos que ni te imaginas que pueden existir .Estaba servido a la temperatura exacta, perfecto.Para terminar decir que este lugar es para tener una visión global del vino , es entrar en un lugar donde se ama el vino por encima de todo. Es un lugar para poder adquirir cultura sobre el mismo , un lugar para disfrutar comiendo con productos de altísima calidad ya que la carta es extraordinaria.Es un lugar de y para la cultura del vino, donde he salido aprendiendo una cosa nueva. Un lugar Mágico.

  • Jose

    Forgive me explain in Castilian. My English is not good writing. So a landlord and 4 wineries in different appellations of origin (Rioja, Navarra, Rias Baixas, Riviera de Duero) I Monvinic visited a few days ago. I'm from Madrid and permission to work on the business of Barcelona. Leverage off for a while this place is colarme “Magic” The first impression was surprised when I see a place so elegant and beautiful and also in Barcelona! , Devoted exclusively to wine. These things just look at London, Paris, New York, Tokyo … The first thing I did before I do the typical comments with friends on a local as innovative and “impressive” was to ask the person who is there, I explain the philosophy of the place. When I explained, is when I began to understand many things that previously could imagine or hint. Whoever you explain things done, if anything, to connect emotionally with what there is and understand the reason for its existence. I realized that this place had been created to offer an exclusive service and where the main rule was to take care of the smallest details. If it is true that a place is only suitable for people with sensitivity to deepen know the little things and have the ability to osbservar those details so subtle. I liked to see a room so big, so elegant and where we note that there has been a major economic investment. That does nothing more than welcome and applaud that people who love wine love these initiatives that ennobles the product that costs us so much sacrifice to achieve. I was surprised to see wonders of a library with books in several languages. Since then recommend it to my advantage when winemakers who come to Barcelona, stop by here to look fabulous Lao texts that there can see. I thought that I had read but rather seeing the books Australian, French, Italian and so-¬. on viticulture and winemaking techniques, there were, I suffered from a stroke cure of humility. Speaking of working, I am pleased to see the number of national and international wines that fill the voids of the cellar and is reflected in wonderful electronic charts, with photos and so on. . Even I was surprised to see our wines from two wineries, and a Albariño A Ribera de Duero in the letter and my picture. I came to see our impact € 20. In few places in Barcelona I have found my wines at that price. The albariño, I repeat, was € 20 when it is normal to be in a place like this to € 30 or more. The food was incredible, quality precedence over everything else. Even the human quality of people that are there and the enthusiasm they have to please the customer, I am surprised positively. . Looking at the wine list, I realized the many opportunities that one has to be able to discover treasures in the world. Take a sparkling English that I wonder. They are neither of those products that you think may exist. I was served the exact temperature, perfect. In conclusion say that this place is to have an overall view of the wine is going into a place where they love wine above all else. It is a place to buy power on the same culture, a place to enjoy lunch with products of high quality and that the letter is extraordinary. It is a place of and for the wine culture, where I have come to learn something new. A magical place. reply edit video record reblog flag comment

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Isabelle this was a wonderful thing to find in my inbox, and I do hope to meet you and discuss my experience. That said I will remove the comments above if I find that they are in any related to Monvinic. A conversation here in the comments is welcome but having all of your friends, essentially spam this site is not appropriate. Please let me know when we can talk.

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good to see that they are able to provide good service also. So as I too think it has potential, I would like to first know what you find as negatives. No bar in the history of the world is 100% perfect, and therefore your comment seems to be a bit lopsided.

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Jose your English is poor(as poor as mine is written) and looks to be translated from google, so I removed the English version to save space and not to confuse anyone. want to ask you what are the negatives that you find they could improve upon? No bar/restaurant is 100% correct. I therefore feel like this comment is not 100% genuine, and I also wonder why you failed to mention or talk about anything I wrote. Please tell me some of your non-glowing endorsements, such as what they could improve.

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Your partially right. I didn't say enough good about the place, though I did have a bad experience. Then again to quote: “The list is wide ranging, and for someone who lives in Spain, this is a treasure since it’s unusual for us to have so many choices.” I would consider this a positive complement that shows I wanted to say some good things, though I did fall short admittedly. If I were to go farther and expand the quote “nice glassware” to read that I am always happy to see a place like this to have nice glassware. As to prices they are fine for a restaurant though I don't think they are anything special. Other things, I would love to comment on the food, though I was never offered a menu or even saw anyone eating at the time. So hopefully in a follow up, I will be able to taste the food and offer a note on it. Finally I never had the library explained to me, so I can't comment on it, though I did state that it was something us “geeks” would enjoy another positive note, albeit small. Thank you for participating on Catavino, I really do appreciate the effort made and would encourage you to leave more comments and to challenge us further. Oh and feel free to email me at anytime: ryan(at)catavino.net

  • Jose

    Ryan, antes de todo decirte me gusta el respeto con el que tratas los comentarios de las personas que escriben en el blog , no todo el mundo es tan correcto en sus formas y en sus palabras.También decirte que me gusta Cata vino ,lo conocí por mis amigos y me gusta por lo mismo que me gusta Monvinic, se nota que hay mucho esfuerzo detrás y las cosas se piensan mucho antes de hacerlas. Por cierto cuando quieras venir a alguna de nuestras bodegas de visita , estas invitado, y sé ,que te gustaran .Ah, no me importa que las critiques :-) ( broma). Son bodegas con viñedos ( producción propia) y vinos complejos de gama alta. Mi email ya lo tienes y no te digo las marcas que tenemos por no hacer publicidad en este medio.Contestando a tus preguntas, efectivamente nada en el mundo es perfecto, siempre uno puede ser crítico con algo. Entiendo tu postura de critica porque es tu trabajo, pero, igual que dices que yo escribo solo cosas buenas , tu solo lo haces comentando aspectos negativos y tampoco es así .Yo solo hablo de las cosas buenas ,por dos razones ,una porque no soy periodista o critico de vinos y por eso solo hablo de lo bueno y la critica la dejo para mi mis asuntos y segunda ,porque yo solo he visto cosas buenas en ese lugar .Lo único que puedo decir ,si se puede definir como malo, que no lo es , es que Monvinic, La maquinaria que es el capital humano , tiene que pulirse,ponerse a punto , tiene que coordinarse, hacerse equipo etc. para que todo vaya perfecto en tiempos , servicio, atención y algo muy importante, comunicación .Para que haya una simbiosis entre cliente y personal . Y eso solo lo da el tiempo, si acaso ,unos meses , como es normal en cualquier hotel , bar, restaurante etc. que abre sus puertas el primer día .. Por lo demás el potencial que tiene este lugar es infinito, yo diría que es un lujo encontrar un lugar barato y a la vez lujoso ,elegante , donde se respira calidad en cada rincón. Exquisito en cuento a trato , precios de los vinos , biblioteca especializada con ¡todos los libros especializados que tú quieras! y si no lo tienen ,lo pides que te aseguro que lo compran, con una variedad de vinos en carta infinita ,no solo de España sino del mundo, incluso…por decir un pequeño detalle, con un equipo de música es extraordinario y ya no hablo de la música… ..En definitiva , tiene todo lo necesario para poder acompañar al vino y pasar un rato agradable.Sería bueno que volvieras a visitarlo , un día solo no es suficiente para poder valorar el trabajo de muchos años .Cuando vienen a mis bodegas , digo lo mismo a las personas que a veces ven más aspectos negativos que positivos.Creo que en el mundo somos muchas personas ,con muchos gustos , formas de ver las cosas etc. y de ahí su riqueza.Creo que no existe la verdad absoluta pero sí creo que a cada persona le puede gustar cosas distintas incluso opuestas, lo cual también es maravilloso ya que da lugar a la discusión ,y de ella ,si se hace con respeto ,se pueden sacar muchas conclusiones .Un saludo

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  • Adolfo

    Hi Ryan, my name is Adolfo,First of all, thanks for your blog, your coments and your reviews, I find them to be very useful.As many people, I use the internet to research before traveling or visiting a place, just to check traveller´s opinions about the place that I am about going to. Some friends from Barcelona had told me about Monvinic, as an “Innovative, suggestive and new concept of bar in town” they said, so, I decided to show up there in me near visit to Barcelona.Afther that, I knew about your blog and I could read your review regarding to Monvinic. My expectations were downright shattered when I read your bad experiences there. I expected to find a sort of labyrinth full of trap-doors, hidden toilettes and unconfortable sitting places. The right place to drink a cup of nice wine ruined by a bad service and a worse knowledge of the proper way to deal wiht wine.I got so upset that I canceled my visit to Monvinic, but my friends insisted on me in trying the place and make our opinion about of it was like. Well, once there, I made sure my self I didn´t need to use the toilettes, and after having been able to deal wiht the evil entrance door, I found a modern, charming, and well decorated place which atmosphere encouraged you to remain there for a long while, without any hurry. I gess the owner has put a huge effort and money in decorations and desing just to provide a suitable place to enjoy fine wines that wouldn´t be avaliable somewere else and may not be affordable for many people. For me, this very is nice from him. Something to be grateful for. Don´t you think?.In my case, I am from Andalusia, I have been living all my life in an area where wine is culture and tradition at same time, and I was nicely surprised by such mixture between traditions, modernity and new technologies. That´s cool form me!!About the waiters and service, I must say that I am not at all a worldwide wine expert, but I can recognized when someone knows about what he is talking about. So, I decided to ask the sumiller an let him to guide me throught their wine list menu. After having talked to him for some minutes, he told me that I should try some wine not easily found in most of places in my home town area, “something that fits in Monvinic philosophy”, he said.We were offered a bottle of Caverne-Sauvignon, (sorry, I don´t remember its name) that I had missed out if I haden´t gone to Monvinic, because I haden´t seen it before and heard about either. Wow, what a delicatessen! Thanks Sir summilier!!To keep talking about service, I found it to be kind and helpfull, always ready to attend any request from customers. Friendly but not too close.Regarding your unfortunated and embarrasing incident with the sliding doors, I agree 100% with you if it was the way you wrote in your blog. If they were watching you and they just stayed looking at you without doing something else, this is really a negative point to be remarked.Nevertheless, as I love to talk wiht people who work in different places I visit, I told them about your comments as I read them in your blog. I mentioned the episode of the entrance door an the rest of the story, and they were perfectly aware of it. I think the boss must have told them off about their way of treating you, or they have themselves realized about their bad reaction. Anyway, the staff boss asked to me to write my own comments an encourage you to give Monvinic a second chance. They are sure of being able to shift your first negative impression.A last point about prices. Don´t you think that a place like that in a city as Barcelona could be dramatically expensive? That is not the case, isn´t that?.To finish my comment, I think is good to complain when something doesn´t work in the right way, only in that case they can solve problems and correct mistakes, but is also a question of justice giving a second chance to those who did something wrong at a first moment. Don´t you agree with me??That´s all Ryan. Just let me to tell you to visit Jerez and try our wines in your next trip to Spain, as Alexander Fleming said once, “Penicillin can cure those who are ill, but Sherry con bring the dead back to life”.Cheers.

  • Anna

    Hello Ryan,My name is Anna, I am a wine lover and my family has vineyards in the DO Cava. I have been to Monvínic three times already, and based on my experience –and that of my friends- I am deeply surprised by your negative comments about this place.First of all, because all the sommeliers and the rest of the team have always been very friendly and humble, and I have never had any problems with the wine service … on the contrary, it is always a pleasure to taste fine wines in such nice Riedel glasses!!You make no comments about the fact that Monvínic is not just a wine-bar, but much more than that: it is a true wine cultural centre, as it is perfectly explained in the website. In this sense, the library, with all the leading technical magazines and books available today, is just so helpful … and I can assure that just like me and my friends, thousands of wine lovers, including wine professionals, enjoy very much having the chance to browse through “The Oxford Companion to Wine”, among hundreds of other books and publications.Also, it is so nice to have the chance to taste wines from all over the world, with their more than 4.000 references, specially knowing that they are obsessive about the provenance, the shipping and storage conditions … and the unbelievable prices!!!!!!!! And what about the digital wine list, with the digital maps and the pictures of the people behind each wine? It is so much fun and a great way to learn! This is a totally unique possibility in Barcelona!!Also, you do not talk about the culinary space, where you can enjoy great traditional catalan food for less than 50 euros, and where the tables have been designed in all details to maximize the enjoyment of wine; nor about the conference and tasting room, where soon masterclasses will be given; nor about the delicious zen-style interior garden, where you can relax … just in the heart of Barcelona!Unfortunately, I have never been to New York, Tokyo or London, but many of my friends, who have been lucky enough to visit these wonderful cities, tell me that this centre, with its spectacular and warm contemporary interior design, makes you feel as if you were in any of these cities.Anybody can have a negative experience once, but, honestly, with all due respect, considering the whole picture, how much effort and passion for wine has been put into this place, for all of us wine geeks to enjoy, we think it is not fair nor impartial to reach the conclusion to discourage people from going and enjoying Monvínic. And I also think it would be nice of you to visit these people again: they no doubt deserve it.Anna

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz
  • http://iamgvg.blogspot.com GVG

    Your review of Monvinic was very disheartening for me. I just returned from Spain two days ago and one of my strongest and most positive memories was my accidental run-in with that sliding glass door, that opened my world to Monvinic. I have to admit from the outside I couldn't tell what it was, originally thinking it was a chic modern hotel, I popped in to check out the lobby. However, once inside, I QUICKLY realized my assumption was wrong. I was greeted very promptly, in English I believe, a relief since I don’t speak Spanish or Catalonian, by a wonderful, friendly woman named Nereida, whom I later found out was one of their newer sommeliers. She explained the whole concept and offered me a tour of not only the library area, the back room where they conduct their wine tasting, and the “culinary space”, but also offered to take me into the back to check out the wine cellars (WHO DOES THAT?!). She blew my mind. It was a long day, I was down to my last few Euros, Nereida, all the other Sommeliers there took me, and my Euros on a journey I nor my pallet will not soon forget. Every person is a product of his or her experiences and I honestly believe you deserve to experience Monvinic once again. A simple man with complex taste,GVG

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  • Ilan

    My wife and I visited Barcelona two weeks ago and on the last day of our stay stopped by Monvinic at 1 PM. Although we did not have a reservation, and were dressed for strolling not dining, the hostess was polite and friendly. The restaurant would only open in 30 minutes so she ushered us to the bar. After settling in and familiarizing ourselves with the online wine list, the head sommelier came by to chat. He then invited me to step into the wine cellar and proceeded to give me a history of the restaurant and information about the cellar and the wines that it contained.
    Afterwards, my wife and I finished our cava and headed for the restaurant area. The waiter was cordial and knowledgeable. He proposed we try a half course of sea cucumbers, a Barcelona specialty, even though the menu did not list such an option (only a main course). The sommelier was also quite helpful. All in all, despite the fact that my wife and I were obviously not locals or wearing expensive clothing, the staff was courteous, the food and wine excellent and the dining experience worthwhile. Moreover, I had no trouble finding the restroom, which is worth a Michelin detour in its own right.
    I get to Barcelona about once a year and I will definitely return to Monvinic — for the food, ambience and the large variety of reasonably priced wines.

    • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

      Great to hear you had such a great time, though your the first person I know who easily found the restroom! :) Not the most obvious door!

      Let us know when you come back we’ll join you!

  • http://www.eat-amsterdam.com Eat Amsterdam

    Hi Ryan,
    I am a food writer and Amsterdam restaurant reviewer, but often find myself surfing the web to find out what’s going on in the world of food and drink in other countries (usually when a deadline is approaching, oddly enough).
    I recently had the misfortune of writing a bad wine bar review, and in the process stumbled across this page of Catavino. Great site! I’ve always been more of a French and Italian wine girl, although this website might change my mind. Perhaps not this bar, though ;-)