To get a feel for the intelligent approach to wine at chef Jordi Cruz’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, ABaC, in Barcelona, it’s worth taking a look at the tasting menu.
Here, Cruz’s balance of traditional Catalan ingredients with avant-garde technique is in full flow, in dishes such as “calçots” (Catalan spring onion) confit with frozen romesco and smoked coal; and smoked steak Tartare, beef with dressing, cooked egg yolk, veil of mustard and pepper bread brittle.
For the purposes of these awards, however, what’s really interesting is the flair with each dish is presented with a creative wine match, which makes use of an extensive by-the-glass selection that earned ABaC a place on the shortlist for Best By-the-Glass Wine List in Europe.
In the case of the two examples listed above, the match happens to be Catalan: Sassó Parera from Penedés and Els Bassotets from Conca de Barberà. But the matches on the rest of the menu are truly international: from Jacques Puffeney Savagnin, Arbois, Jura (with Palamós prawn, Iberian pork tail and cutlet, coral consommé, and curry bread) to Manincor Kalterersee Keil Schiava, Trentino-Alto Adige (with “menuda” veal).
It’s that balance of the local with the international that gives the list at one of Europe’s most creative restaurants its distinctive flavor—a list that senior judge Andrew Jefford sums up as “an excellent selection with wonderful prices.”