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Spanish wines were being made for local consumption before Madrid was established as the capital in 1561. The award of DO status is intended to encourage the wine-growers to achieve higher quality. Admittedly there are wines that scarcely deserve the DO predicate but some excellent wine is also made, such as that from Arganda. The 5,000 hectares of the Vinos de Madrid area is subdivided into three sub- areas of Arganda, Navalcamero, and San Martin de Valdeiglesias. The soil of each area imparts its own character on the wines. In San Martin de Valdeiglesias there is an overlying brown top soil with underlying granite; in Navalcarnero the top layer is light sandy soil over sand and clay, while Arganda is overlaid with marl and clay with underlying granite interspersed with chalk. Each of these soil types is poor for general agriculture but ideal for wine-growing, except perhaps in the case of Navalcarnero which is less free draining and therefore can become more sodden than Arganda and San Martin.

The climate is typically continental with hot summers and very cold winters. Any precipitation is mainly carried on the south-westerly winds in the spring and autumn. The red Spanish wine hereabouts is produced from Garnacha and Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), while the whites use Malvar, Albillo, and Airén. It is remarkable that each of these sub- areas has its own preferences in terms of grape varieties. Arganda uses Tinto Fino for red wines and Malvar plus Airén for whites, Navalcamero chooses Garnacha for reds, Malvar for whites, while San Martin prefers Garnacha for its red wines and Albillo for white Spanish wines.

Madrid wine malvarThe bianco, rosado, and tinto vinos jovenes of Madrid are generally pleasing light and fresh wines so far as the whites and rosés are concerned but more robust and full-bodied reds. Drink temperature for bianco is 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C), rosado 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) and 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C) for tinto. Crianza wines wholly made of Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) or 85% Tinto Fino and 15% Gamacha are rare but well worth while in view of their modest price. At present it is best not to expect too much of them.

The rustic power and character of the vinos jovenes is somewhat tamed and harmonised by the short period of cask maturing. You cand drink this Spanish wine at 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).

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