La Catalista in the Born is a wine bar with a focus on Catalan wines from small producers. Each is paired with an ideal dish to bring out its flavours. There are full glasses or half pours to go along with individual or sharing portions of food.
Erin, the young American owner, wants to share as many of her well-researched varieties as possible. She left a corporate career at LinkedIn to do this instead. A life change affliction that strikes a good portion of people who visit Barcelona.
La Catalista is a wine bar with a focus on Catalan wines from small producers coupled with imaginative dishes thought up by Laila Bazahm of Hawker45.
Erin did not rush into La Catalista She took her time. She found the right locale and came to terms with the quirks that must be accepted when launching a small business in Barcelona.
And she found Laila. As in Laila Bazahm, the head chef at Hawker45. A fellow corporate lifer who went for a radical life change and became a head chef instead of an investment banker. Laila is responsible for the dishes that match the wines
Owner Erin makes sure that all wines are served at their optimum temperature with reds chilled to a perfect 18°C
A salty dish of pan-fried mushrooms with tonnato sauce (5.5€) comes with what is currently one of Erin’s favourite wines. A red organic from Massis del Garraf made from a rare Catalan grape (6.5€) called Sumoll.
The red wines at La Catalista are served at precisely 18 degrees celsius. I may only have the first WSET certificate, but even I know that room temperature does not mean 24 C. Warm serving temperatures make even the brightest wine dull. There is a neat contraption behind the bar that keeps half a dozen bottles suitably chilled and on hand for quick pours.
I opt for dishes like the kimchi ceviche — a decidedly different take on the usual. Tuna diced small, with granny smith, diced even smaller – the lot blended with kimchi juice.
Black garlic hummus with roasted root vegetables goes well with a lightly oaked Garnatxa Blanca from Priorat.
At some point, Erin comes out behind the bar, and we get chatting.
“I am always around. I was doing payroll just now. The life of a small business owner.”
Indeed. It’s hard work that needs you constantly, so it’s good to pick something you don’t mind immersing yourself in 24/7. I mention I have an upcoming trip to Molsheim.
“Mossel!” she exclaims, mishearing me. “There are some great wines that come from Mossel!.”
“No – Molsheim.” I correct her. “But you know what? That Freudian mishearing tells me you picked the right profession.” I joke.