VINOS DE MADRID APPELLATION OF ORIGIN
Madrid has an Appellation of Origin of its own, which makes it the only capital in the World to have one bearing its name, since 1990. Despite general belief, the Appellation of Origin is not a mere administrative status, but the recognition of something pre-existing and the desire to protect it. What is sought through the A.O. is recognition and protection under a name that awards the product, in this case wine, with a distinction for its origin and tradition.
Back then, there were several municipalities with plenty of vineyards seeking, since the mid- 80´s, some sort of protection, a movement coming from those vine growers and wine-makers who could visualize a promising future for a product that was well worth it. Those towns and villages that are now so familiar to everybody and can be seen along the highway, like Arganda, Navalcarnero or San Martín de Valdeiglesias, then rose as true spearheads, along with other municipalites like Chinchón, Aranjuez, El Álamo and Cenicientos who followed their example. There was talk about an appellation of origin: Wines of Madrid, divided into three sub-zones.
Up to now, only the south has been granted with the Wines of Madrid appellation, a distinction which other municipalities, throughout the whole Autonomic Region, have still not obtained.
After a first attempt in 1973, the Wines of Madrid Appellation of Origin began to take shape in 1982 but was not effective until the late 90´s. A great change in the structure of the wine-making industry of the province was the contributing factor that made the wine of Madrid take a leap from anonymity to a growing presence in the markets.
In 1972 the “Statute of the Vine, Wine and Alcohol” came into effect, a fundamental regulation for both wine production and Spanish appellations of origin. The Statute was the starting point for creating the map of the Spanish appellations of origin. Thanks to that Statute the process that later resulted in the 40 appellations of origin, still valid in 1992, came into being. In the 70s´ Madrid’s wine production saw an increase in sales, a fact that favoured an attempt to obtain the A.O, backed up by the Chamber of Agriculture and some cooperatives in 1973. It was turned down by the recently created National Institute of Designated Origins, and that vaguely outlined project was soon abandoned.
According to this initial territorial distribution, the Specific Appellation of Arganda consisted of six municipalities (Arganda, Belmonte de Tajo, Colmenar de Oreja, Chinchón, Valdilecha y Villarejo de Salvanés), Navalcarnero´s of two (Navalcarnero y El Álamo) and that of San Martín de Valdeiglesias of four (Cadalso de los Vidrios, Cenicientos, San Martín de Valdeiglesias and Villa del Prado).
Everything remained pending until the founding of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, a circumstance that gave the project new orientation. In December 1983 the Autonomous Region’s Chamber of Agriculture came to an agreement with INDO in order to form the Provisional Wine Standards Board and establish a single appellation divided into three sub-zones, which was defined as the “Specific Appellation of Origin of Madrid”.
However, that was not to be its definite name either, as the 31st May 1984 Decree of the Autonomous Region’s Chamber of Agriculture had only provisionally recognized the “Specific Appellation of Madrid” together with its three sub- appellations, Arganda, Navalcarnero and San Martín.
The Regulation of the Specific Appellation differs only slightly from a Regulation of an Appellation of Origin. Territories, production limits, yield per hectare, authorized grape varieties, wine characteristics, vineyard and winery registers etc. are established in the same way as in an effective Appellation of Origin. The objective was to pave the way, promote innovation in wine-making and support the marketing of the bottled product.
The regulation published in 1990 was subjected to further modifications in 1996 and 2003. It establishes conditions regarding the production of grape destined to be protected, and regulates vinification and grape characteristics, as well. In summary, the most important aspects are pruning, grape-per- hectare maximum production (80 quintals for the Malvar and Airén varieties and 50 for the rest) and grape juice/grape yield, that may not surpass a 70% (70 litres of grape juice per 100 kg of grape).
Why three sub-zones?
Because the south of the autonomous region is very wide and its climate and soil change from east to west. A zone´s ´special varieties can even differ between them; a wine near the Sierra de Gredos mountain of the San Martín Subzone is not attributed with the same qualities as the ones that Guadarrama mountain gives to Navalcarnero´s wines, or the qualities Arganda´s wines have to offer because of their proximity to Guadalajara and Cuenca.
For that reason, dividing and distinguishing these wines, as is reflected in their wine tasting, was something fundamental.
The wines do not differ from the rest of the Spanish wine-making scene. There are, of course, white wines, rosé, red ones, vintage wines and young wines that compete with confidence within and out of our borders.
So, even though in the very beginning the mere mention of the existence of the Wines of Madrid may have sounded “exotic” to some, they are now well-known, and they are present in the German, English, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese and American markets.
There are currently 45 wineries, all located in the South of Madrid from east to west, which market the wine all the way to the consumer, offering him a very wide range of varieties and wine-making processes that will capture him or her immediately, dissolving any possible doubts about the Wines of Madrid.
Varieties of Grapes
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Small berry Muscat
- Viura o Macabeo