All throughout Spanish history, farmers, monks and locals have produced wine and drunk it at their family tables, blissfully unaware that their daily vino was the nectar of the rich and privileged in faraway countries. Wine has always been available here, and it has always been good.
If you are not from Madrid, it can be hard to buy wine like a Spaniard. We tend to look for an imported bottle and an expensive label – but not anymore.
Forget your old assumptions about quality and price, because in Madrid, fantastic wine is produced just around the corner. On the edges of the city border, incredible Madrid wineries with vast vineyards are producing fantastic wines that have been enjoyed here locally for centuries. You have great wines at good prices right at your fingertips, and are in the perfect place to start a Spanish wine journey.
Working at a wine company, I have learnt a few things about where the Spanish buy their wine in Madrid. Drop your post-work trip to the supermarket and try these 3 best places to buy wine in Madrid– whether you are looking to pick up a bottle for a friend´s dinner, or spend as long as you like on a Saturday afternoon browsing and tasting the wines that they have on offer.
Lavinia is a chic and modern wonderland of wine situated in the barrio of Salamanca. On the same street as Chanel, Dolce Gabbana and Louis Vuitton, its location only adds to its impeccable service, friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere. There is a sense that things are happening here, and they are: with a top restaurant and regular tasting events and courses (this month, special cheese and wine pairing), Lavinia is a hub of specialised wine activity. They even have little decanting machines to taste wine in the shop on your own- the perfect way to test your palate style if you not sure what you like yet.
If you are looking for your new favourite bottle, or a gift, and feel a bit lost, Lavinia is the best place to go. Just take in the label of your current favourite wine, e.g. an oaked smoky red, along with a price range, and they will show something new to try. If you are looking for a gift, you could even take in the label of a friend´s favourite wine and wrap up something that they have never tried before. Without a doubt, the staff of Lavinia know their stuff- just check out their website to see how many years each sommelier has totalled working in the wine industry.
Address: Calle Jose Ortega y Gasset, 16
Santa Cecilia is, in so many words, a wine supermarket. It has a mini supermarket check-out counter, push entry barriers, aisles of beautiful shining bottles, wine gifts and books. However, Santa Cecilia also has a somewhat hidden secret weapon: a selection of traditional Spanish foods. Originally founded in 1922 as a traditional Madrileño food shop, Santa Cecilia has stayed true to its roots and today still offers a selection of delicious gourmet cheeses, hams, aperitivo snacks and store cupboard patés to add to the wine in your shopping basket.
Following the theme of food, Santa Cecilia also has a mini cafetería style bar with high stools that serves tapas to try with the wine while you browse. This makes a visit to this shop with a friend a potential afternoon of food and wine tasting. They also have a serve yourself ´zona de catas´ wine tasting bar, with bottles open and ready to try if you need some inspiration, or are just figuring out what you like.
Santa Cecilia also offers a wide selection of liquors, juices, spirits and mixers, as well as tasting workshops and courses- this month Scottish whisky tasting and cocktail making.
Address: Blasco de Garay 74, Madrid
Walking down the glass walled stairs into Enoteca Barolo´s underground wine selection is like submerging into your own private collection. The wines have been lovingly organised amongst modern box-like compartments and illuminated by simple lighting, as if the room were an exhibition of a life´s work. In fact, having lived for several years abroad in Italy, its owners returned to Spain with a passion for providing the city with an extensive selection of both Spanish and worldwide wines. This makes Barolo probably the best selection of wines in Madrid: a special selection put together by the owners´ personal recommendations.
If you already know a little about wine, the staff of Enoteca Barolo can help you out with suggestions for new wines to try, and you can learn more from their regular wine tasting courses. This month alone they have over 8 tasting courses, ranging from almost extinct grape wine and cheese pairing, to a progressive Italian wine tasting course.
You don´t have to be looking for an expensive bottle to visit to Enoteca Barolo either- their cheapest wine sells for 2,30 € (which, non-incidentally, is produced… in Madrid).
Address: Principe de Vergara 211, Madrid
If you would like to find out more about the wine region of Madrid and its local wines, just go to the official Designation of Origin (DO) Madrid page, at: www.vinosdemadrid.es/en