When the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsula they brought the vines with them so we can guess that this was the very beginning of the vine cultivation in Madrid region and Center Spain and also assuming that it did not exist before that period. More than four hundred years later, Iberia was conquered by the Visigoths and some other barbarian tribes such as Sueves, Alans, and Vandals. They loved alcohol consumption and also became Christian so vine farming kept its importance. We could think that the Moorish invasion of the VIII century was bringing the winemaking to an end but this did not happen despite the koranic prohibition. The first confirmed data about the existence of a wine-making industry around the Madrid region and center of Spain dates back to the XIII century.
Madrid - Wine region table of contents
The XVI century is as also known as the ‘Golden Century’ because of the splendor of the Spanish Arts and by that time the King Philippe II decided to switch Toledo by Madrid as the new kingdom´s capital. This decision implied a remarkable increase in the local wine demand. In the second half of the XVII century, Madrid had 63 winegrowers that were obliged to declare to the royal treasurer which was the number of grapes they produced.
Madrid wine region began the XX century with more than 60,000 hectares (almost 150,000 acres) of vineyards, but unfortunately, it was 1914 when the first vines under the attack of phylloxera were detected in the western part of the wine region.
The plague ruined Madrid´s vineyard and forced a new strategy by planting grafted vines with the American rootstock and foreign varieties as a stalk, especially Garnacha (from the Northeastern part of Spain) into the western side of the wine region and ‘Airen’ (a white grape from La Mancha) into the eastern one. Due to the market needs, at that time volume became more attractive than quality for the vinegrowers.
Everything changed when Madrid wine region was considered an upcoming D.O. in 1984. This was the very beginning of a new era that supposed an awakening for Madrid wine sector where quality was recovering its lost position. There are lots of high-quality wine regions around Spain and all over the world which makes even more difficult to find the magnificent wines from Madrid on your wine shop shelves but the first step was done and these wines have got many critics recognition (nationally and internationally) and whoever approaching to them should know that Madrid wineries are producing extraordinary value for money wines within the D.O. Vinos de Madrid.
There are three subzones in the wine region. You will reach the town of Arganda del Rey and its vinyards by heading east from Madrid. Navalcarnero is heading southwest and the highest in altitude is San Martin de Valdeiglesias, just heading west from Madrid. According to the red wine production, Arganda is more tempranillo forward, San Martin more Garnacha (Grenache) forward and Navalcarnero could be a mix of both. If we take notice of whites, the west is more focused on Albillo Real and the south or the east side of the wine region are more Malvar forward. Our Madrid wine tours run in different regions. One of them covers the Madrid wine production area but the other wine tours go to La Mancha, Rueda or Ribera del Duero.
In addition to these four main varieties there is also allowed the vine growing of these white varieties: Airen, Macabeo (Viura), Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc, Small Berry Muscat and Torrontes. And just for reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Merlot, Negral (Granacha Tintorera), Petit Verdot and Syrah.
These are pretty similar to most of the wine regions in Spain that classify the wines according to the ageing process:
This means ‘young wine’ and works for whites, rosés and reds. They are considered Young because there is no barrel period before bottleing or it is shorter than Crianza.
Two conditions for whites, rosés and reds: first, at least 6 months in 225 litres oak barrel. Second, at least 24 months by adding the barrel and the bottle ageing.
Two conditions: first, at least 12 months ageing in 225 litres oak barrel. Second, at least 36 months by adding the barrel and the bottle ageing.
White and Rosé wines
Two conditions: first, at least 6 months in 225 litres oak barrel. Second, at least 24 months by adding the barrel and the bottle ageing.
- Gran Reserva:
At least 24 months ageing in 225 litres oak barrel plus at least 36 more months ageing in the bottle.
White and Rosé wines
Two conditions: first, at least 6 months in 225 litres oak barrel. Second, at least 48 months by adding the barrel and the bottle ageing.
For those wines that contain endogenous CO2 remaining from the alcoholic fermentation of the grape juice and its berries (grapes) as well (they call this process Sobremadre that means the juice is fermenting over its own mother (the berries) and kept together in the tank (no rackings) for no longer than 6 months. The wine will be bottled directly from the tank by despising the top (in contact with oxigen) and the bottom (where the grape leftovers are). This is a very traditional Madrid wine elaboration method, common for whites.
- Espumosos (Sparkling):
They could be made by following the traditional method (champenoise) from white and rosé grapes, for instance: Albillo Real, Malvar, Parellada, Torrontes, Macabeo (Viura), Garnacha (Grenache) and Tempranillo. The bottle ageing process should last at least 9 months.
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