Weary of looking for authentic? (Definition: ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine’). Fear not the semantic satiation!
Celler de Ronda bucks the trend of patatas bravas for a fiver and tins of cold seafood (forks supplied!) for more. It embraces modern trends with a cordial wink to the great and authentic Spanish/Catalan off licences of old.
“We sell more vino granel (cheap wine from a barrel) than anything else,” explained owner Xavi.
“It’s less than two euros for a half litre and perfect table wine.”
Propping it up
Xavi and his partner Dilcia have become a pillar of community during the establishment’s six-year existence.
Castellers – the Catalan tradition of human tower building – takes up Xavi’s spare time. He acts as a pillar (pinya) at the bottom of Castellers for Jove de Barcelona, supporting those that wobble. Insert something clever about wine and wobbles here.
Occasionally the family pet, Laya, will yap hi; she usually stays on her blanket at the back of the shop and bark at you once (tail wagging).
Getting the right wine
It’s Xavi’s palate and search for new tastes that marks the Celler out. Xavi tries every single wine that he sells, having learned his trade at El Celler de la Boqueria.
Weekends see more sales of bottles. “I know every wine and so if you tell me what you are looking for, I can make suggestions,” says Xavi.
“Some people just say they like wine, some people really want to know about the grapes, others want to know which red wine could go well with fish.
“We look for the small producers and not the mass suppliers. We may not have lots of one type of wine, but we have a few cases of a lot of different types, something for everyone.” His favourite tipple at the moment is from the Mas Rodó vineyards.
We often shop at Mercado San Antoni on Saturday mornings then head to the Celler de Ronda and have a bottle matched to our food for us.
Xavi continued: “I prefer to call this a Tienda de Vino (wine shop), rather than your classic bodega. It’s not about selling the most expensive bottle, or offering vermut or snacks, but about getting the right wine to the right person.”
Wine growing regions
Celler de Ronda covers Spain’s main wine regions: Cataluña, Rioja, Penedes Ribera del Duero and more. Priorat is my favourite.
There are also artisanal beers, IPA, brandy, licor de café – careful with this mix of strong alcohol and coffee – and more. My Christmas cake is soaked in brandy from Celler de Ronda.
Cava is a staple of Catalan life and don’t be surprised to be saying ‘chin chin’ with a glass at any hour; breakfast, lunch, dinner, all good. Celler de Ronda has its own eponymous Cava, a Brut Nature Joven (young); “Mas fresco,” explains Xavi.
More my style are the ciders – the Basque is more acidic than the sweeter Asturian drop – yet they lack the punch of some of the chewy West Country squeal of Gloucestershire.
Hair of the dog
Famous Vichy Catalan sparking water is the second best seller, and at €1.10 a bottle with 15 cents on return of the bottle, it’s easy to see why.
My partner, the Plek, is a fan of Vichy for the-day-after-the-night-before. Plek said: “Bodegas used to sell drinks like Vichy, so he’s keeping the traditions going.
“It’s environmentally friendly, cheap – and the bubbles are good for you.”
Drop in for a drop
Xavi speaks some English and can help visitors find a fine wine, and mainly trades with locals.
“My dad used to bring wine home to drink and many years ago I would just be like most people, drinking wine and not knowing much about it. But at the Boqueria I learned and now I can tell just by looking at a wine, its colour its look, if I will like it, without even sniffing it.”
Mon-Sat: 0900-1430 / 1630-2100
Celler de Ronda, Ronda Sant Pau 77, Tel: 931 923 814
Instagram: Celler de Ronda