What comes to mind when you think of Spanish wines? Maybe a trusty Rioja? Perhaps you’ve dipped your toe into the realm of Ribera Del Duero but you know it’s quite a trek from Madrid? While you may know Madrid is a foodies paradise, home to no less than 14 Michelin starred restaurants, you probably don’t naturally associate this city by the mountains with interesting wines. But good news, there is more to the Spanish world of wine and it’s close, in fact just simple train or bus ride away. And yes, I said bus or train, vineyards in Madrid that you can reach using public transport: note – bus = no driving = more sampling opportunities.. plus the additional bonus of someone else dealing with the Mad-rid traffic.
Visiting the vineyards of Madrid
The vineyards of Madrid have their very own Denominación de Origen – Vinos De Madrid. The winegrowing regions are broken up into three subsections; San Martin and Navalcarnero both to the South East and Arganda, the largest, to the south-west. The long hot summers and cold winters of Madrid offer classic continental climate to the vineyards that have viticulture traditions dating back to the Roman Empire. Red is by far the most common, with traditional Spanish grapes such as Tempranillo and Garnacha being heavily planted, but if you prefer white wine, you’ll also find scatterings of lesser known indigenous varieties such as Albillo or Malvar.
Vinos De Madrid
1. SAN MARTIN DE VALDEIGLESIAS
You’ll find San Martín de Valdeiglesias nestled in the picturesque Valdeiglesias Valley, growing up around the Castillo de la Coracera. Moderate (by Madrid standards) summer temperatures tend to make this area very popular amongst Madrilians during the warmer months and a great place for the local wine industry. The town can be easily reached by a bus ride that whisks you out of the city into the Spanish countryside, passing through the attractive villages and towns that make up the greater community of Madrid. In general, the Spanish buses are well looked after. They are clean, have air-conditioning and many of them even have wi-fi in case you want to track yourself on Google Maps!
Main varieties: Grenache, Moscatel and Tempranillo
Saavedra family-owned for four generations, the vineyards cover more than 17 hectares with the average age of the vines being 70 years, with some reaching almost 100. You’ll notice the steep slope and positioning of the vines which means mechanical harvesting is not possible for most of their grapes so traditional methods such as mules and manual equipment are still used.
Main varieties: Garnacha and Albillo
The philosophy of Bodega Maraoñes is to respect the grape, they pride themselves on the way that they work to create elegant wines. It is an organic vineyard which gives them the best opportunity to express the terroir through their wines while caring for the wider environment. This philosophy stretches through to their whole wine making process ensuring that they only ferment their wines with indigenous yeast.
Getting to San Martín de Valdeiglesias
Getting to San Martín de Valdeiglesias is straightforward. You can catch the bus from Príncipe Pío Station which is very close to the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Egyptian Monument, it can also be easily reached by Metro. The station is both for buses and trains with the buses being on the ground floor. You’ll need to look for the Green buses (although be aware that in that area of the station the wallsblue) where you will be able to purchase tickets from the desks before boarding the bus. Most of the staff are used to tourists so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are confused – if the person you ask can’t answer they will find someone who can. The bus you need is the 551 which goes to San Martín de Valdeiglesias at least every 30 minutes, at some points of the day even more frequently.
LINK to Bus
Warring factions burnt down Navalcarnero no less than four times over the years (Luckily we now live in calmer times). I have no idea whether the wine produced here was the cause or cure of the fighting but I do know that this town, just 31 km south of Madrid, is a foodies’ delight, priding itself on its gastronomic culture and home to wineries that excel in the production of Garnacha and Malvar.
Main varieties: Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon
Felisa Diaz Colomo, great granddaughter of the founder, has recently taken over running Bodegas Andrés Díaz, a small family winery focused on producing red wines. Her first challenge has been to modernise the business – she is keen to balance perfectly new technology and tradition.
Bodegas Ricardo Benito
Main Varieties: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Malvar and Moscatel
One of the larger producers in the region, Bodegas Ricardo Benito has over 80 hectares of vines based just 500m from the Guagarrama River. With a wide diversity of soils, ranging from poor sandy ones to compact and clayey, they produce a range of exquisitely balanced wine.
Getting to Navalcarnero
Again you need to head to Príncipe Pío where you can get a bus directly to Navalcarnero, hop on line 528 and it will take you right there. As with the buses to San Martín, they leave every 30 minutes throughout the day.
LINK To Bus.
Arganda is the largest of the three wine producing communities in the Vinos de Madrid DO, stretching from the town of Arganda del Rey to the north of the region down to Aranjuez in the south. It is home to the majority of the Madrid vineyards.
Bodega Real Cortijo de Carlos III (Aranjuez)
Main Varieties: Merlot and Tempranillo
Ordered to be built by the King in 1782 to supply wine and olive oil to the royal home, the Real Bodega of Carlos III is a real treasure of Madrid wine. The vineyard prides itself on the devotion shown to their 140 hectares of vineyards when creating wonderful wines. Magnificent vaulted cellars make this vineyard extra-special by offering consistent conditions which let the wine rest peacefully in the bottle for between three to five years before being offered for sale.
Main varieties: Tempranillo
Located in Colmenar de Oreja, Solera Bodegas is a stunning winery proud of its heritage from over a century of making wine. Inside the Bodega, nestled next to the stainless steel fermentation vessels, you will still see some of the vast mud jars that have been used for wine production here for centuries and are iconic of the region. In fact, at Solera Bodegas, some of them are still even used.
Getting to Arganda
As Arganda is a large region there are many different hubs you can visit. Aranjuez is easy to get to on the Madrid rail network. Line C-5 is a direct train passes through most of the main Madrid stations including Charmartín and Atocha around once an hour. Colmenar de Oreja, on the other hand, is a little trickier but definitely do-able. You’d need to catch Metro line 9 to Rivas Vaciamadrid where you can change to a bus that will take you the rest of the way. The bus actually passes through the small town of Chinchón on the way which is also a great place to stop for a visit. You can also find a couple of vineyards in Arganda del Rey which are easy to get to, the station is just at the end of Metro Line 9.
By Train or by Metro.
Madrid vineyard tours
It really doesn’t take much to get out of Madrid and enjoy more of the wider, wine-making community. Tours of all these wineries are available, although each do them slightly differently. All require booking and some rely on having minimum numbers with prices ranging from €7 to €40.
If you would like to know more about the vineyards and wine of Madrid, we offer a fantastic one-day tour in which you will visit three separate wineries and enjoy lunch, all hosted by our bilingual tour guide Ismael. This tour is one of the best-sellers at Winerist so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like more information