Main Grape Varieties
- Tinta del Pais
- Garnacha Blanca
When you land in Madrid you can really feel that this is Spain’s capital and largest city. The scale and speed of everything, the history, the diversity is invigorating. What makes it so surprisingly the expansive historic districts feel preserved nearly intact. Buildings from the 16th to 19th centuries dominate, when Madrid grew into its newfound role as capital with the gold of the empire. It can often feel, especially in the oldest neighborhoods, like you are in a town somewhere in the provinces rather than a metro area of over six million. Old-world stores still in business and hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants serving unpretentious fare exist around the corner from corporate headquarters and luxury boutiques. Madrid has attracted migration from every corner of Spain over the centuries, and has absorbed many elements of the cuisines and cultures of these diverse provinces into its own. All of this makes Madrid feel like Spain in miniature, with all of its diversity, traditions, and modernity wrapped into one.
The high-altitude Ribera del Duero region north of Madrid is centered on the Duero River where the iconic wineries-Vega Sicilia, Pingus, etc-are located. The altitude and extreme continental climate help to build structured elegant and often bold wines, made almost entirely from Tempranillo (known here as Tinta del Pais or Tinto Fino). These wines benefit from aging, especially the reservas and gran reservas. A better match for the hearty local cuisine than Ribera wines would be hard to come by. Top recommended dishes are roast baby lamb, hearty stews and sheep’s milk cheeses. Ribera is not only about the well known wines favored by the critics and wine enthusiasts. New players have entered the field, typically smaller wineries, whose innovative practices in the field and in the bodega are expanding on the flavors of Ribera del Duero wines.
Cocktails in Madrid
People in Spain typically don’t go in for cocktails beyond the (very popular and very large) gin and tonics that dominate evenings and weekends all over the country. Madrid by contrast has developed a strong cocktail scene in recent years and has a number of highly regarded specialy bars. Salmon Guru, ranked as one of the 50 best bars in the world in 2018, serves exquisite craft cocktails, of ten in surprising custom-made glassware, in a new space with a classic Madrid feel. Viva Madrid is housed in a historic tavern with tiles covering the outside and an interior more at home in the 19th century than in the 21st. The cocktails are focused on classics, but updated and very high quality. Bar Cock is a relaxed and classic cocktail bar with helpful waiters and decoration unchanged since its founding in 1921. Angelita Madrid, an excellent tapas & wine bar, has a top-tier cocktail bar in the basement that specializes in cocktails using wine and products from the tiny garden located inside the bar!
- Walking tour of Madrid’s historic center
- Private Prado and Reina Sofía museum visits with an art expert guide
- Dinner and flamenco show at 1 Michelin starred Corral de la Morería
- Madrid gourmet tasting tour visiting specialty food shops and bars
- Spanish wine tasting with a Madrid wine expert
- Dinner on a tour of Madrid’s best tapas bars
- Visits to premier Ribera del Duero wineries with an expert guide
- Wine-tasting lunch at a modern Ribera del Duero winery
Suggested Itinerary 4 Nights
Itineraries are hand crafted with extra care to create the right mix of food, wine, and culture for a memorable and unique experience. Here are some ideas and a sample itinerary. Contact us to get started.
Day 1 – Madrid
- Arrival in Madrid
- Guided walking tour of historic Madrid
- Overnight in Madrid
Day 2 – Madrid
- Private Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums guided tour
- Dinner & flamenco show at Corral de la Morería (the restaurant has 1 Michelin star)
- Overnight Madrid
Day 3 – Sevilla & Aracena
- Tour of historic gourmet shops and market stalls with specialties such as ham, charcuterie, cheese, baked goods, and olive oil
- Private northern Spanish wine tasting with a Madrid wine expert
- Guided Madrid tapas tour dinner with a tapas guide
- Overnight Madrid
Day 4 – Madrid – Ribera del Duero
- Transfer to Ribera del Duero
- Visit a winery with an underground wine cellar that produces highly acclaimed wines
- Wine-tasting lunch at a modern winery’s restaurant
- Visit a winery making single-plot Ribera del Duero wines
- Overnight Madrid
Day 5 – Departure
- Transfer to the Madrid airport for departure
- Join a local arts expert on a tour of Madrid’s artisan ateliers, including a Spanish guitar maker, a cape maker, and a flamenco dressmaker.
- Visit one of Madrid’s famous art museums before opening hours.
- For art lovers, visit contemporary art galleries and artists’ workshops and take in the street art in Madrid’s Manzanares River district.
- Take the high-speed train to nearby Toledo. Guided tour including walking on the roof of the 13th-century cathedral and visiting the restored Santa María la Blanca synagogue. For lunch a local chef will invite you into the kitchen for a cooking demonstration before lunch.
- Take the high-speed train to Segovia to see the historic town, visit the Alcázar fortress, and have cochinillo (roast suckling pig) for lunch with Ribera del Duero wine.
- Add on time in the beautiful Andalusian cities of Córdoba and Sevilla, both accessible in under 3 hours via high-speed train.
- Take the high-speed train to the great Mediterranean city of Barcelona for an immersion in food, wine and architecture.