The center of Madrid’s little-known wine country is just southeast and southwest of Spain’s capital. Wines of Madrid are considered quite young, dating only to 1990, even though Madrid’s wine history dates back to the 13th century. Almost all of Madrid’s vineyards were destroyed in the early 1900s due to phylloxera (a nasty little insect that feeds on grape roots, stunting the growth of the vines and frequently completely killing them). It was a long, difficult recovery for the vineyards; however, by 1990 the Specific Denomination of Origin (DO) “Vinos de Madrid” was recognized and officially approved. Now people from across the globe venture to Madrid to visit the old wineries and vineyards where they can sample some of the most unique flavors of wine in the world.
There are three distinct sub zones under the DO that produce wine: Arganda, San Martin and Navalcarnero. Each zone has a very different wine portfolio, Arganda being the largest sub-zone, with 60% of Madrid’s total wine production and more than 50% of their vineyards.
Recently, the DO launched a marketing initiative in the U.S., including tasting events in Chicago, New York and Boston. This hopefully means that Vinos de Madrid should be in American wine shops in the near future!
Today in Madrid, you can enjoy a variety of young wines including whites, roses and of course, reds. Traditional sobremadre wines (white and red wines made from pressed and de-stemmed grapes as well as their grape must, in addition to red and white sparkling wines.) Visiting the wine region around Madrid is a unique experience where one is able to immerse oneself in the artisan wineries and rolling vineyards.
Of course don’t forget about Sangria! Spain’s worldwide contribution to wine that combines fruit, fruit juice, and vino has resulted in some pretty sweet and low-brow combinations that can taste a lot like Ripple, or leftovers. The glass Greg is drinking on the right, bought at one of Madrid’s most prestigious food halls, has none of these blights. He described the taste as smooth and complex, and there’s nothing more delightful than being able to quaff an iced glass of wine in the warm summer months.
Whether it’s Sangria or one of the many reds, whites and roses available in Madrid, wine is the ubiquitous drink of choice in tapas bars, restaurants, and homes all over the city.