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Cien Vino’s Tapas Bar

Cien Vinos, or in English – 100 Wines, is located in a neighborhood called La Latina in the center of Madrid – an area for which the tapas fiends frequent often. It is a small, cozy, den of gastronomic decadence that’s a bit hard to find if it weren’t for the bronze plaque outside the front door which tips you off that it isn’t someone’s apartment building. As you step inside the double doors, you’re greeted with warm lighting, hundreds of wines and a friendly atmosphere. What particular element that makes this place so inviting is the way they’ve chosen to display the menu and wine list. On the wall sits two black boards which list either the food or wine available for the night. You can choose from either pinchos, which run about 5 Euros on average, or raciones, which are about 10 Euros. Pinchos are small bite sized portions made for one person, while raciones tend to be larger portions to share among a group or as a meal for one. The wine board, will typically contain an average of approximately 7 different reds to choose from, 2 whites, 1 sherry, 1 rosé, 3 sweet (dessert) wines and 1 cava, all priced between 1.75-3 Euros.

Upon arrival, feel free to either choose a table or just stand at the bar and order. When it’s busy, the tables tend to be reserved for raciones only, but if you find a few tables still free, you might be able to talk them into letting you ordering a few pinchos instead. I prefer getting several pinchos and splitting it with friends as it makes a fun way to explore all the various flavors on the menu.

On a recent visit with Gabriella, we chose to order 3 different pinchos with 4 different wines. We began with a Brandada de Bacalao: Bacalao (salt cod) mousse whipped with heavy cream with a touch of mild spice generously heaped on top of a toasted round of bread. While this might have used a bit more seasoning, the sweetness of the cream blended well with the rich meat and the texture contrasted nicely with the toasted bread.

Our second tapa was called, Ravioli de Cordero Especiaso. Both my Gabriella and I found this to be our favorite. Inside a crisp fried wonton wrapper wrapped innovatively inside a thinly sliced eggplant, were layers of creme freche, fine al dente Asian noodles and a ravioli-like packet of cumin-spiced lamb. Licking the plate clean took on a whole new dimension as we tried to savor every last drop. While the creme fresh acted as a mediator to the richness that rested above it, the crispness of the noodles and wonton contrasted well with the rich softness of the lamb and eggplant. My mind danced as I deciphered the delicate cumin that laced throughout the rich lamb, while the wrapper of eggplant helped to moisten the dry texture of the wonton. It is truly a small piece of art and a tasty one too.

Al-Andalus was the third tapa we experimented with. Two spirals of crepe wrapped themselves around a slightly spicy tomato and goat cheese center. Each piece was served hot on top a round cracker with cheese oozing out the sides as you bit into it. Cinnamon was dusted across the top which had a slightly earthy spiciness which helped to balance out the sweet richness of the tomato and cheese. Incredible!

You may be wondering about the wine considering that it is called “100 Wines” after all. Being a sucker for Sherry, I opted for the Lustau, Papirosa. The wine showed a pale gold in color with a salt air nose and delicate melon aromas playing throughout. Searingly dry with a salty finish, the sweet melon of the nose saved it from being too austere as you finished. Fun wine for a warm day in the sun.

I followed this by a Cigales Docetañidos Rosado. Light brick-red with a perfumey strawberry nose and light bitter-orange finish, this wine reminded me some of the crisp rosés of Tavel, France.

Having a large collection of wines by the bottle, it is worth noting that Cien Vinos does serve the proper glassware with every bottle of wine purchased. However, I also suggest taking a peek at their wines by the glass, which also just so happens to be served in good glassware as well and makes it a worthwhile stop during a night out of tapas.

It is always a good time and please make sure to tell them that Catavino sent you!

Till soon,

Ryan Opaz

Taberna Cien Vinos

C/ Nuncio 17, Madrid
Metro: La Latina
Phone:+34 91 365 4704
Hours: Lunch: 1pm-3:45pm daily; Dinner: 8pm-11:45pm daily Closed some Mondays

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