Cava Diem. This January, Secret Urban Wine Tour took us on a private, three-hour wine journey through the historical district of Madrid. The walking tour included four stops and seven wine tastings. We selected the upgraded package, which paired the wines with small bites. I’m excited to share our wine tasting experience in Madrid with you. Wine flies when you’re having fun!
Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world, after Italy and France. Spanish wine country includes 7 main wine regions:
- Northwest Spain – specializes in zesty white wines and aromatic red wines
- Mediterranean Coast – Catalonia produces sparkling wine, Cava, and red wine, Priorat. Valencia and Murcia specialize in value wines
- Ebro River Valley – La Rioja is infamous for Tempranillo while Navarra specializes in Rosé made from Grenache grapes
- Duero River Valley – produces white wine, Verdejo, and bold red wines
- Central Plateau – produces value red wines made from Grenache, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot grapes
- Andalucía – specializes in Sherry
- The Islands of Spain – offer a range of wines from bold reds to dessert wines
We met our wonderful tour guides, Jorge and Joe, at our first stop, Plaza Mayor. Before each tasting, we walked to a different Madrid landmark, where Jorge and Joe discussed its historical significance. At each tasting, we sipped exquisite wines and learned about how soil, grapes, humidity and temperature impact Spanish wine production.
(1) Plaza Mayor is a major public space in the heart of Madrid. Bullfights, public executions, trials during the Spanish Inquisition and crowning ceremonies took place in Plaza Mayor.
Joe is an experienced sommelier. She started the wine lesson by discussing the various wine regions in Spain. We also learned the Five S’s of wine tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor. Our first glass was the Vega De La Reina Verdejo, a delicate, fruity white wine. Joe paired this wine with assorted white cheeses. Next, we tasted the Hacienda Zorita, an intense, fruity red wine with soft tannins. The salty, cured Iberian meats balanced out the flavors of the red wine.
(2) Our second landmark was the Mercado San Miguel Market. This is the most popular market in Madrid with gourmet hams, assorted cheeses and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also a number of restaurants that prepare various Spanish delicacies.
At the next tasting, we savored the Vinas Del Vero. The smooth finish of the wine paired well with the Patatas Bravas. Our fourth wine, the Nietro, was a fruity red wine with a sweet tannin structure. The rich braised oxtail balanced out the tannins and acidity in the wine.
(3) Next, we walked to the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Today the palace is used primarily for state ceremonies.
Our third tasting took place in a kitschy shop that served both ice cream and the infamous Spanish “blue wine.” The blue color is derived from a natural dye, Anthocyanin, which is found in the skin of red grapes. When Anthocyanin is added to white wine, the wine turns a deep blue color. Since wine can only be red, white or rose, these blue bottles can’t be marketed as wine. The “wine” was sweet and fruity and similar to a sweet white wine. We sampled different flavors of ice cream with the “wine.”
(4) Our last landmark was the Sobrino de Botin, This is the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
At our final wine tasting, we sipped the Castel de Bouza. This sip-erb wine was well balanced and fruity and paired well with the cheese croquettes. The last wine was a Puerta Vieja. The wine was complex, rich with tannins and complimented the creamy meat croquettes. We finished the tour on cloud wine.
Wine flies when you’re having fun. We highly recommend Secret Wine Tours on your next trip to Madrid. Tickets cost €49 or €66 with the food pairing. For kid friendly options, check out the Secret Food Tour, which operates in 25 countries and 51 cities.
Spain, the beautiful country of wine and songsGoethe