El Bulli...been there, done that....still waiting for the t-shirt....and all before the world knew about it! Back in the early 90's I travelled annually to Portugal for holidays. Get there quickly....return slowly....visiting some nice restaurants on the way back. Usually I would drive through Spain, without stopping, to reach France for my first choice...but having heard good things about El Bulli and it had 2 Stars in Michelin (1997 it was given three)...I booked a table.This was a few months in advance...still possible in those days. I stayed at a hotel in Roses...as there was no possibilty to stay near the restaurant as it is situated in a small bay. I ordered a taxi to drive to the restaurant. This is how not to start an evening at El Bulli. The drive over a small mountain was adventurous. The road was slightly stoney and as the passenger I had the view to the right with, at times, deep valleys. The driver obviously knew the route like the back of his hand...but it hardly helped my nerves! I arrived about 8 pm to stroll around the property. They didn't open until 9pm...this is Spain!
Ferran Adrià was producing Molecular Gastronomy. The staff were dressed as if in a Convent / Monastry....and I was given the menu. I had decided in advance to try the 'Special'...which was something like 22 courses. Now...before you order a stomach pump and alert the hospital....these are small portions. A spoon will arrive with one course...open your mouth...in it goes...waiter and spoon hover...you try...waiter and spoon disappear. Then a small pyramid with 3 different portions....then a small plate with something else....and so it went on. Fish, Meat, hot, cold, sweet,dry... a paradise for foodies!....but here sits a wine-lover. Knowing what was coming I chose what could possible deal with the avalanche of flavours. A Condrieu (Viognier from the Rhone). 'Sorry Sir..that is sold out...but we can recommend a Rueda from Spain'. It never had a chance. So....an event the evening certainly was....and I saw at least 2 top chefs from France who were visiting...wanting to know what this guy over the border was up to. The drive back was not as daunting...it was September and dark by now...I was on the other side..and with food and wine inside me.....I arrived back at the hotel safely. No doubt the road was improved as the Restaurant became more known. I was reading that he would close in 2012 and open again in 2014. Would I go again?.....Answer...no...As I have got older...I like to plan what will arrive...and have a wine that will marry.... Maybe the wine I tried here would have accomodated the food better!
Efeso Bianco Librandi 2008
Made from the Mantonico grape. Mellow yellow with green tinges...creamy vanilla and honey nose...some green apples. An oily palate....which would have helped with El Bulli food (pity the restaurant hadn't any Grüner Veltliner at the time)...elegent...and again..the creamy texture. Nice wine....