It’s no secret that Rekondo, located at the base of San Sebastián’s Mount Igueldo, is one of the top restaurants in the world for wine. Boasting a cellar containing upwards of 125,000 bottles, some dating back centuries, it’s rich not only in depth, but in scale.
Equally impressive is that the collection is more than 50 years in the making. Since opening his namesake restaurant in 1964 within his family’s historic farmhouse, Txomin Rekondo, a one-time matador, has made a point of collecting wine. Today, he stores more than a generation’s worth of treasures—with concentrations in Rioja, Burgundy and Bordeaux—in the restaurant’s nearly 4,500-square-foot cellar.
Now in his 80s, Rekondo still manages the restaurant with his daughter, Lourdes, though he’s relinquished the run of the cellar to Argentine sommelier Martin Flea. And while the list contains everything from the humble (locally made txakoli) to the extravagant (a complete vertical of Château d’Yquem dating back to 1933; Mouton Rothschild to 1945), the wine program is as much a testament to Spanish history as it is a carefully curated nirvana for drinkers.
Peppered within the cellar, alongside dusty vintages of CVNE (1925), Vega Sicilia (1917) and Marqués de Riscal (1880), are a number of historic sherries, plus a handful of unique Spanish bottles labeled Medokkia (a play on “Medoc,” explains Flea) and Sauternes. Designed to mimic the wines of Bordeaux, the collection dates to the mid-19th century when, for a short time, France relied on Spanish wine—still untouched by phylloxera—to supplant much of its own industry, which began struggling with the disease not long before.
Here, a look at these rare bottles, and more, inside the Rekondo cellar.
The Cellar at Rekondo