Spain's viticultural renaissance is one of the great wine stories of the last half-century. Under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Spain's wine industry was moribund. Following the restoration of democracy in 1976, the wine industry began a slow recovery, and forty years on, Spain has become a premium source of both high-end and bargain wines. Its wine renaissance has even reached the gates of Madrid (in a manner of speaking).
Madrid is apparently the only city in the world with its own wine appellation. The Vinos de Madrid appellation is located in a mountainous area some 50 miles west of the city proper. Although wine has been produced there since the Middle Ages, the region was only granted appellation status in 1990. There are currently some 40 wineries that fall within the Madrid jurisdiction. The predominant grapes are grenache and tempranillo for red wines, malvar, airen, and albillo for whites.
We are especially fond of the grenaches. One we adore is the Camino de Navaherreros, made by a winery called Bernabeleva (yes, the names in this case are as mouth-filling as the wine; Navaherreros, in case you're curious, is the name of the sub-region from which the wine came). The 2012 Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros is a spunky Grenache with rich, chewy dark fruit, black pepper, black licorice, and tobacco notes, all balanced by muscular, ripe tannins. It's a crowd-pleaser, and will go beautifully with anything grilled. With its low 14.5 percent ABV, it will drink even better in winter. It is a wine for all seasons, and proof that one doesn't always have to journey far from the city to find excellent vineyards. [$13; wine-searcher.com]