Madrid Wine Region combines fabulous wines, exceptional gastronomy, renowned heritage places and vibrant capital city, which is famous for its culture and nightlife and is home to some of the most famous museums and monuments in Spain. The city is modern yet traditional, with a mix of a cosmopolitan feel and deep-rooted traditions of Spanish culture. Visit what is known as the Triangle of Art, which contains within a limited area the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Art Centre and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. You can visit the large green spaces such as the Retiro Park and drop into typical bars and taverns to sample a range of delicious tapas. Moreover, a number of cities that are shadowed by Madrid are definitely worth a visit. Take a step out of the city to the countryside and explore small picturesque towns such as Chinchón, and many charming villages in the mountains.
Winemaking in the region of Madrid is an old custom. History of viticulture in central Spain dates back to the Ancient Romans, who brought first vines here. and rural areas have been traditional suppliers to the city’s inhabitants for centuries, especially since Philip II made it the permanent capital in 1561.
Red wines are the heart and soul of the region produced mostly from Tempranillo or Garnacha, but one can also find some decent white wines from Madrid wine region. By the end of the 20th Century, many wines in Spain had developed a reputation for being cheap, characterless and poorly crafted. However, later in history, changes in wine consumption habits and a stronger economy increased demand on higher quality wines. To meet the newly-acquired tastes, the denomination of origins needed to make a change. For decades the bodegas produced everyday ordinary wine, but they soon had to respond to more demanding customers, which they have done with extremely impressive results.
Subregions and Grape Varieties of Madrid
The Vinos de Madrid DO covers three subregions, each with distinguishing characteristics. East from Madrid, you will find Arganda, which is the largest subregion with more than 50% of Madrid’s vineyards and 60 % of its total production. In the southwest, Navalcarnero is forming the middle section of the region and produces 15% of its wine. In the west of Madrid, you can experience the highest altitude vineyards of San Martin. The local climate is strongly continental, with extreme variations in seasonal temperatures. The soil is a mixture of clay and lime. Some interesting rosé wines are also produced here.
The Vinos de Madrid DO produces high-quality red wines in Arganda with mainly Tempranillo grape variety and in San Martin where Garnacha is more in the centre of production. As for Navalcarnero, they use both grape varieties, which could be also in blend.
As for white wines, the west part of the region is more focused on Abillo grape variety when in the southern and eastern part, the region is more Malvar forward.
Full list of grape varieties: Besides four main grape varieties(Tempranillo, Garnacha, Abillo and Malvar), Madrid wine region is also permitted to use following grapes.
White: Airen, Macabeo, Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat and Torrontes.
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Merlot, Negral (Granacha Tintorera), Petit Verdot and Syrah.
What to Expect from Madrid Wines
Many people think of the famous red wines from Spain but many spectacular white wines are also made throughout this Mediterranean country. Classification of wines in Madrid wine region is similar to most of the region in Spain, which based on the ageing process and it distinguishes four categories: Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, Sobremadre, and Espumosos(sparkling).
Madrid wine region is young and upcoming region with very interesting wines, which are more casuale comparing to more famouse wines from the regions such as Rioja or Ribera del Duero.
Red wine produced from Tempranillo grapes is light-bodied and perfect for everyday drinking. It express freshness and fruitiness with balaced acidity. Tempranilo from Madrid wine region pairs well with variety of dishes including white meats such as chicken and pork.
Single Varietal Garnacha wines are produced around Madrid from high elevation vineyards. This red wine is highly concentrated and complex, expressing flavours of dark raspberry with subtle, white pepper spice notes.
Brut Nature Blanco is the only sparkling wine made in Madrid. Crisp, fruity and slightly bitter, this is a delicious local alternative to Cava, especially during the holidays.
Where to Taste Wines Around Madrid
You can enjoy a glass of D.O. Vinos de Madrid in wine bars around Madrid but why don’t you go more rural and taste them straight from the source in a natural setting?
Enoteca Quebél is located 45 minutes drive from Madrid. It is a family-run winery which focuses on production limited quantity of high-quality wines from traditional Spanish grapes. All the activities in their estate are organic and sustainable to protect nature and their farm.
Rascafria – The Natural Jewel of the Region of Madrid
Rascafría is a small town located 100 km north of Madrid in Sierra de Guadarrama. This tiny town is situated in the lovely Valle de Lozoya, which is one of the natural jewels of the region of Madrid. The remarkable Santa María del Paular monastery is one of the most impressive sights in the town The building of this monument started in the late 14th century. The facade of the church was designed by Juan Guas and is a great example of “flamboyant” Gothic architecture whereas the cloisters are an example of the Mudejar Gothic style. Filled with several centuries of history, monks continue to live in the monastery making cheeses, honey, and liqueurs.
Once in Rascafria, make sure you visit the beautiful Puente del Perdón that gives a wonderful view of the monastery. Several surrounding buildings such as famous Plaza de Los Trastámaras, the town hall and parish church of San Andrés Apóstol will take you back in time.
In addition to the history and art of Rascafria, the natural surroundings are also a major attraction for thousands of visitors. In the summer months, lots of people go on the Lozoya riverside for swimming when in winter, they all head for the mountains, to the Valcotos and Valdesquí ski resorts. For those interested in festivities, culture and food, there are plenty of things to do in this town. The local folk festival, Natural Folk, each June attracts numerous fans of this music. During the months of October and November, food lovers have an additional motive for a visit. the Mushroom and Wine & Food Festival where one can try the most delicious mushrooms paired with some of the best wines of Madrid.
El Escorial – Preservation at its Finest
El Escorial Renaissance palace complex is located 45 km northwest of Madrid. Construction of the complex has started under the reign of King Philip II to serve as a multi-purpose burial site for his father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, a monastery, and a palace. El Escorial palace is one of the major cultural and touristic attractions of the region. Escurial Monastery is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site for having outstanding universal value.
The building complex, strong in its structure, has four principal stories with large towers at each corner. Arranged within a quadrangle, the buildings include the church, the monastery, royal palace, and college, and the library. The interior of the Escorial was decorated by many notable Spanish and Italian artists of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Alcala de Henares – Birthplace of Famous Sancho and Don Quijote statues
Alcalá de Henares, Located just 30 km from Madrid, is a small town but has a huge heritage. It is one of the most important towns in the history of Spain. Complutense University was founded in the town in 1499 as the Spanish language was declared an official language of culture. As a result, Alcalá de Henares is now part of the Path of the Spanish Language, a route comprising all those places in Spain that have had a special influence on the Spanish language. University together with the old town have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Rodrigo Gil de Hontañon, the architect behind the Salamanca and Segovia Cathedrals, in Alcalá de Henares, started building the Residence Halls in 1537 in the Mudejar style.
Its construction was finished in 1553 under the quantity surveyor, Pedro de la Cotera. It boasts an elegant plateresque style façade with interesting grilles. Inside, one can see two of the Colegio Mayor’s three original cloistered yards: the Patio de Santo Tomás and the Patio Trilingüe. The building houses a real gem, the Great Hall of Paraninfo of the University.
However, don’t think that university is the only place you can visit in Alcala de Henares. You can take a walk around the former market square which today is named as Cervantes Square after famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who was born here. You can also visit Cervantes house and take a picture on the bench with Sancho and Don Quijote statues. On Cervantes Square, behind the Oidor Chapel, you can find a tourist information centre, where you can learn more about places in and around the city.
Get Lost in Natural Sorrounding of Madrid
Secret Destinations for your Journey
When one imagines a visit to Madrid, you may picture yourself strolling through its cobblestone lanes, sipping wine over a plate of tapas, studying the masterpieces of Dalí and Goya, or admiring the city’s stately architecture. If natural beauty is your cup of tea, there are also many beautiful natural attractions nearby. Madrid is a fantastic city for outdoor escapes, hiking trails, scenic views, and peaceful parks. There is an incredible amount of outdoor adventure opportunities throughout the city and its surrounding areas.
An Exceptional Refuge for Biodiversity
The National Park extends over the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountain Range, whose highest peak is the Peñalara Summit. These mountainous areas are much frequented by hiking and climbing enthusiasts. Cooler, more humid conditions affected little by humans lend to a biodiverse mountain range. Affected by human activity, have made these mountains an exceptional refuge for biodiversity. Its physical features include glacial cirques and lakes, granite rock fields, and its plant. Landscapes are formed by high-mountain ecosystems and extensive forests of Scots pine.
Cuenca del Henares – A magical sight to be behold
Cuenca is a magical sight overlooking a river gorge with its famous “hanging houses” clinging to steep, rocky slopes. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the prettiest medieval cities in Spain. Cuenca has marvellously preserved its old-world character with its cobblestone lanes, town square, and old mansions.
Visitors enjoy wandering and discovering picturesque alleys and hidden corners of the ancient streets. At every turn, you will find fascinating historic monuments and fabulous views, Cuenca also boasts exceptional art museums and festivals. Visit the Religious Music Festival during Easter, for a rewarding cultural experience.
The Alberche River – River Fun in Madrid
The Alberche River traverses through the provinces of Avila, Madrid, and Toledo in central Spain. It meets the Tagus a few kilometres east of Talavera de la Reina. It is a perfect natural escape from the city and popular among visitors for canoeing and kayaking activities on the river. Alberche Beach is a sandy beach stretch on the banks of the Alberche River, a favourite spot for vacationers from Madrid.
Top 3 Dishes to Savor in Madrid
Eating in Madrid allows you to be faced with a regional and international variety of cuisines unlike anywhere else in Spain. For centuries, the people of Madrid survived on hearty dishes built for harsh winters. Constant migration of outsiders, the cuisine of Madrid has slowly evolved over the years resulting in a diversity of culinary traditions from all over Spain. Increased sophistication of the city’s gastronomic offerings including late-night tapas, has occurred. Basque cuisine found in Madrid was inspired by the French and embraces simplicity, technological advances and shorter cooking times to preserve natural flavours. Besides national cuisine, immigrants from Asia, South America, and North and West Africa, each have brought their own ingredients and culinary traditions to the table. Enjoy the gastronomical diversity of Madrid including exciting molecular cuisine by Innovative Catalan chefs.
Cocido Madrileño – Traditional Madrilenian Comfort Food
Cocido Madrileño is a traditional chickpea-based stew from Madrid. This is a substantial dish prepared with meat and vegetables which is most popular during the winter but can be found throughout the year in some restaurants. The origins of the dish are uncertain but most locals believe that it was created during the Middle Ages as an evolution of a different dish until it became a staple in Madrid cuisine. The main ingredient of the dish is the chickpea which is paired with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and turnips. The meat used is fundamentally pork.
Huevos Rotos – Eggs with a Spanish Twist
Huevos Rotos directly translates to ‘broken eggs’ and is one of the most popular dishes in taverns in Madrid. The dish is an incredibly simple combination of fried potatoes, chorizo sausage, and perfectly fried eggs that can be served at any time of the day. The local people of Madrid like to enjoy this tasty dish as a lunch or dinner meal.
Bocadillo de Calamares – Madrid’s Most Beloved Dish
Bocadillo de Calamares consists of a fresh bread roll filled with squid rings that have been coated in flour and deep-fried in olive oil. Each sandwich is made to order, giving the squid a delicious, just-cooked crunch. It’s that simple. The local people of Madrid usually wash down their Bocadillo de Calamares with a small beer. This local favourite dish can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or, if you’re particularly hungry, for an afternoon snack. Without a doubt, visitors should sample a calamari sandwich at one of the bars around Madrid’s Plaza Mayor.
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