El Celler de Can Roca Part 1 was all about having dinner at the #1 Restaurant in the World.
Now it’s story time, and what made for the best ending to a meal we had to wait a year for…
If they could guarantee the experience we ended up having, then they would stay #1 forever.
The restaurant is separated by half wall partitions, so when you’re sitting down, you can’t really see what’s going on with your neighbors on the other side. During the last thirty minutes of our meal, servers started swarming excitedly around the table of ten or so men in the corner, blocked from our view by the partition. (Insert Beyoncé beats)
After some time, a significant collection of wine bottles had started lining the partition, and the attention of all servers had zeroed in on this table because they were constantly opening new bottles and getting to taste from what were clearly some exciting wines.
It was after midnight by now, and we were ready to pay and leave but couldn’t get any staff to come back to our table. Blessing in disguise.
I called our server over (“Psst psst”) and asked what was happening over there. He explained that this is the 15th annual gathering for this group of wine producers & aficionados who meet up once per year. They each bring special bottles of wine from various locations, have the big tasting menu, and taste all of their wines. Bottles and bottles and bottles get opened. Last year they stayed until 5am.
I looked at the all-male table of wine power and said to my roommate, “If your eye wasn’t swollen shut and I was 3 years younger, we could totally infiltrate that table.” Famous last words.
I was certain this would not be our night, but lo and behold. As if on command, ready to rise to the challenge, my roommate’s eye started healing, just in time to step up to the challenge and enable us to reply, “Why, yes, we would love to join you.”
I thought you’d never ask.
We were then escorted over to this table.
We thus spent the next 4 hours reclining at the table of Bacchus, trying wines of a caliber that I will likely never get to try again in my life, as if we were just a part of the club and somehow deserved to be there.
From approximately 12:30am, end of dinner time, until 4:30am, we were unofficially inducted into the Hall of Wine Producers 15th Annual Wine Tasting Extravaganza, speaking a mix of English, French, and Spanish across the awe-inspiring sea of wine glasses.
Some of the highlights:
- Petrus 1980
- Petrus 2001
- Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000
- Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grand Cru 2003
These four bottles alone total nearly $10,000.
And they brought 24 bottles with them. As if this wasn’t enough for the brotherhood’s annual tasting, they ordered more bottles off the Can Roca wine list as the evening went on. Each time, a server delivered a fresh round of new glasses to everyone at the table (newest
brothers sisters included).
Like there’s space for another wine glass.
Suddenly, Josep Roca (of the Roca brothers) is at the table with us. We are all laughing and having a great time, like the great wine producers and sommeliers and restaurant owners that we all are. Suddenly Josep Roca is whisking my roommate and I away to the wine cellar for a private tour.
I am having serious difficulty controlling my use of the CAPS LOCK as I WRITE about our PRIVATE TOUR of the WINE CELLAR by JOSEP ROCA. At this point, we are the only ones left in the restaurant. Me, my roommate, a Roca brother, and the wine symposium.
For the briefest moment, I thought about how I just left my purse at the table until it simultaneously dawned on me that these guys have collectively brought a bajillion euros worth of wine on top of their 200 euro per person meals, so, they probably aren’t looking to take that 50 out of my purse. I’m positive the man closest to my purse is wearing a shirt that costs more than the contents of my bank account.
This wine cellar is no ordinary wine cellar. It’s a mammoth, dark, modern, and beautiful room, stacked high with bottles (around 60,000 to be exact), and they have it on lockdown. The fingerprint scanner (yes) scanned Josep’s finger, and the floor-to-ceiling glass wall slid open upon recognition of a Roca brother such as this.
He proceeded to turn on the dimmed lights and accompanying music which is necessary for any proper wine cellar tour, and took us section by section through the various types of wine, each with its own flat screen TV showing footage of rolling vineyards and grapes, accompanied by its own unique musical interlude and touchable example of the wine’s characteristics.
For example, we ran our hands through a bowl of little metal beads to remind us of Cava and Champagne. Then in the next room, we ran a big ribbon of satin through our fingers to remind us of Riesling, then crispy dry leaves, and volcanic rock. You know. Standard wine cellar stuff. I half expected to turn the corner and find a heart shaped bed and a saxophone player.
Are you trying to seduce me?
Back at the table, we talked Paris restaurants, wine-making (because I make wine in my spare time. Nope.), Italy, and who knows what else until the wee hours.
As the evening came to a close, we signed the wine list, which was printed in advance by Can Roca with all the bottles they brought for this year’s festivities on the left, and the tasting menu items on the right.
Signing the roster made us part of the official 2014 crew, and were asked to give kisses to two bottles of Petrus with the date scribbled at the top of the bottles, the keepsakes.
I’m sure that’s probably standard initiation procedures, which all members do for their inaugural year, and I can only assume we are invited back for the 16th annual wine tasting next year.
Thanks El Celler de Can Roca, and mysterious benefactors, for nearly 8 hours of fabulous food, wine, and entertainment.
El Celler de Can Roca
Calle Can Sunyer, 48
17007 Girona, Spain
0034 972 22 21 57