Imagine sitting at a picnic table in the Madrid countryside that is covered with homemade olive oil, bread and delicious wine. That is exactly what I got to experience a few weeks ago. To convince you to also go on this tour I will share this short anecdote: I asked our guide, “how does this compare to the wine we drink back in the States?” and he responded “it doesn’t.” If that’s not convincing enough, I don’t know what else is. In all seriousness, the wine tour was fabulous and I want to share a little more about my experience.
Days before the wine tour, we had lunch and dinner at numerous restaurants in the city and in neighboring towns such as Avila and Segovia. On each menu we found that there wasn’t a long list of wines. There were two choices: red wine or white wine. There were usually only two white or two reds to choose from, but if you only wanted a glass – versus a bottle – you didn’t have a choice between them. Whatever bottle was open was the one you drank. Coming from the States, we weren’t used to it, but it didn’t bother us.
I mean, how can you be mad while drinking wine? Anyways, we found this to relay over into our wine tour experience as well.
For example, throughout the entire tour they never mentioned “this is a Cabernet you are drinking” they never mentioned the grapes at all. In fact, they never even labeled the wines with that information. They were either red wine or white wine and they only called it the name the wine makers did – which was usually named after family members.
For example, if they made two different red wines they would have the name of the winery on the label and then the name “Antonio” or “Maria”.
If you are picky when it comes to wine, please don’t let this fact sway you! Every single drop of wine I had was the most refreshing and delicious wine I’ve ever tasted.
Now, onto the fun part: the wine tour! We started in the heart of Madrid and worked our way out into the countryside. We stopped at a beautiful palace and then continued on to the first stop on our tour.
This modern winery was high on a hill and overlooked the valleys surrounding it. The manager of the winery and the man who supervised the entire process was originally from Chile. We drank wine directly from the barrel and he taught us about the process as well as the wines we were drinking.
From there we kept on driving to a very small town that only housed about one hundred people. The center of town was designated by a huge church and after pulling up to what looked like a house with white walls and a red thatched roof, we walked inside and met the man who owns the winery. We then went up into an attic and saw the tops of these huge clay pots that held dozens of gallons of wine. They had the attic designed it in such a way that even when it was more than 100 degrees outside it would be in the mid 50s inside the room. From there, we walked down into a basement, passing by an inside-out skinned sheep – our guide told us that wine makers used to make them into sacks to get wine up and out of the cellar to bottle it. We continued down the stairs to see even more clay pots that were about 10 feet tall. On a small table there were more bottles of wine.
On the way to our next winery, we stopped in another beautiful town in the countryside and they were setting up for the bull fights. We took pictures and headed on to the third and final winery.
The last winery was run by a very sweet woman who told us about the process of how they make wine. There were more clay pots here as well. We then sat outside, eating cheese, bread and olive oil while we drank more bottles of wine.
After the wineries, we stopped at a quaint little restaurant where we had lunch and drank more wine! Needless to say the car ride back to the city was quiet…everyone was sleeping with a smile on their face.
Check out the tour here: http://www.gourmetmadrid.com