Bar Molino another hidden gem on Florida’s First Coast
Note: This is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of blog posts highlighting things to do in and around Jacksonville.
Down a narrow alleyway in A Coruna, Spain, just past the Bar La Florida, coincidentally, is El Rey de Jamon. It’s a small restaurant with cured hams hanging from the ceiling and outdoor seating. Back in 2017, we were fortunate enough to travel to Spain, and we spent part of an afternoon at El Rey de Jamon, enjoying a tasting platter of Serrano and Iberico hams, local cheeses, bread and, of course, wonderful Albarino wines. For dinner, we found another great local restaurant serving fresh seafood, which we paired some excellent Godello wines.
A few days later, we found ourselves in Barcelona, where we were able to sample amazing tapas and more exceptional local wines. I had hoped to visit a particular local wine shop in the El Born district, but they were closed the only day I could go, in solidarity with the Catalan independence movement. Many other local businesses were closed as well, as peaceful marches were held throughout the city. Regardless, we ate and drank very well while we were there.
Five years on from that trip, we had an experience here in Jacksonville that transported us back to our time in Spain. We visited Bar Molino in the San Marco area of Jacksonville, where we tasted Spanish wines, dined on tapas, ham and sausages, and had an all around great time.
We started with the patatas bravas, which was every bit as good as what we’d had in Spain, and a glass of txakoli wine. From there, we had a selection of Spanish hams, sausages and cheeses, all from The Swinerie charcuterie shop, which conveniently shares space/ownership with Bar Molino. We may have even tried the smoked tongue, and liked it.
Service was excellent, and the staff’s passion for Spanish food and wine was evident. As I was trying to choose my next wine from the really interesting by the glass list, the owner kindly poured me three small tastes of the wines I was considering, and gave me a little background on each.
First, there was a white wine made from the palomino grape–the same grape used to make Sherry–that, like Sherry, spends a bit of time under flor. The difference is that the final wine isn’t fortified like Sherry.
Next, I had a taste of the Trampian Txakoli 2021, made from the hondarabbi zuri grape. I haven’t tasted a lot of Txakoli wines, so it was nice to get another chance to sample this citrusy, mineral-tinged white.
Utlimately, I chose the 2016 La Antigua Clasico from Rioja, a blend of viura, garnacha blanca and tempranillo blanco. Viura was completely new to me, and the white versions of both the grenache and tempranillo grapes are not something you see everyday. So I couldn’t pass it up. It was funky, to be sure, but a nice cool sipper that went well with the tapas.
Best of all, the wines are all available for purchase in the Bar Molino bottle shop, along with a good selection of other Spanish wines. I was especially happy to see they carry the Bodegas Avancia Godello Nobleza, a wine I’d previously only been able to get at a store in Tampa.
Thanks to Bar Molino, I can get these excellent wines, and a little taste of Spain, much closer to home.