The wine park

Madrid - Authentic and Rock Star

May 20, 2013 12:49:20 PM

Madrid is the most spanish of the cities in spain. Everything of the city from the gastronomy to vino and fashion screams español. In my 3 day visit to the city and to 30+ tapas bars in that time (oh yes!) I did not get a hint of anything international. But that is the very essence of why you go to Madrid - to get away from your civilization and to basque in their wonderful culture.


Vino as usual was my highlight of the trip. Spain makes wonderful wines. It is the 3rd largest wine producer in the world behind France and Italy - but try finding a good Spanish wine bottle in Indiaand you will be disappointed. Spain is hitting the world scene with its fabulous wines. Like everyone its needed a mentor, who for so long was living under the shadows of the 2 giants - France and Italy. Robert Parker and few other critics who saw the quality, potential and value exposed it to the world. Now there is no turning back.


If you have not been exposed to spanish wines, I highly recommend trying them. There are in all 67 DO (regions) where wines are grown. Few of my favorite regions and wineries are listed below:


1. Rioja - just 160 miles south from the mecca of the wine world "bordeaux" makes one of the most stunning wines from the signature grape of spain - Tempranillo. The wines are classified as Crianza (1 year in oak and 1 year in bottle), Reserva (1 year in oak and 2 year in bottle) and Grand Reserva (2 years in oak and 3 years in bottle) depending on the oak and bottle ageing. Wines to try of exceptional quality are Roda, Muga, Finca Allende, and Bodegas LAN.


2. Ribera del Duero - is another fabulous wine growing region, which is just 1 hour north from madrid. It is the region of the famous Vega Sicilia - an eponymous wine which sell for a whooping $300+ per bottle. However my favorite winery of this region is Mauro, made by ex wine maker of Vega Sicilia for 20+ years - Mariano Garcia.


3. Toro - is a region surrounding Ribera which makes excellent wines from the grape Tempranillo, here called as Tinto de Toro and Granacha. Just 40 km away from the Portuguese border, it is know to make full bodied and jammy wines because of its extremely hot climate. Maurodos and Pinta are exceptional wines and not to be missed.


4. Rueda - Sititng in a tapas bar in madrid I had ordered a glass of a white wine. The house wine that was served simply blew me away. It was a Verdejo grape from the region of Rueda surrounding toro and ribera del deuro. The verdejo wine has a very fruity bouquet of gooseberry and citrus, and quite juicy on the palate - don't miss it!


5. Cava - If you think that the best sparkling is made only in Champagne then think again - Cava's (spanish sparkling wines ) are just as wonderful. At 1/4 the cost of the famous champagnes and made in similar technique the bubbly are superb value wines which you can sip all day long. On of my favourite cava's is Agusti Torello Mata. The maverick owner has been working for the past 3 year with one of the best chef in the world and one who owns "El Bulli" - Ferran Adrian to make a solid Cava - a delight for molecular gastronomy lovers. I had the pleasure to try it with strawberries - haven't tried anything quite like it before. All Cava comes mainly for the region of penedes. A special mention has to be given to Torres wines - the biggest company for wines in Spain which comes from penedes. If you never have had spanish wines, more likely than not Torres will be your first spanish wine experience - simply because they are available all over the world including India!


One last region I will mention is Rias Baixas. The northwestern most region in Spain touching portugal makes stunning white wines call Albarino. Albarino is the rockstar white wine and becoming a craze in the world. Its a fresh, crispy and a mineral driven. If you get to try it, then forget your chardonnay's and your sauvignon blanc's this wine will not disappoint - and if it does then I will write you a cheque.