It was an early morning in Madrid and we woke up with great expectations for the wine tour we had scheduled. We would be venturing about 60 miles outside of the city in search of some of the best wine in the region. When we met our tour guide Cesar in the lobby of our hotel and could feel his passion for wine, we knew we were in for a great day. Driving through the mountainside, we crossed three different provinces: Avila, Toledo and Madrid. The beautiful landscape was full of rolling hills, acorn trees and farms.
After an hour in the car, we pulled off the main highway along what appeared to be nothing more than a wooded area. A closer look revealed a few dirt roads, one of which would bring us to the first winery of the day: Valdeiglesias. Valdeiglesias is a small production winery that specializes in granache wine. As we walked around the grounds, we were amazed by the beauty of the vineyard, which includes vines that are over 100 years old. The winery was closed to the public, but Cesar opened it up for us and provided a private tour of the space and a spectacular tasting. Instead of tasting multiple different types of wine, we assisted Cesar in retrieving the same type of wine straight from three barrels, all of which were at different ages of maturation. With wine glasses laid out in a row on a wooden table we were able to explore the nuances in flavor at various stages of maturation, which was truly a fantastic way to learn about the complexity of the wine.
Our second stop was at the Bernabeleva winery where we met with owner & wine maker Juan. Juan pulled up his car and we jumped in, getting a private and very personal tour of his vineyard. The tasting that followed was remarkable, as Juan siphoned our samples from barrels while telling us anectdotal stories about the different wines and the people who help him make them. The way Juan welcomed us into his world and treated us like friends instead of customers made this part of the day really memorable.
Our trip ended with a private meal at Hacienda la Coracera. While we really enjoyed Cesar's company, it was nice to have a romantic meal with just the two of us after the wine tastings. When we arrived, a table was already set up for us in the corner and an abundance of food kept coming out for us to try, including a whole fish and a steak from a local farm. As you can imagine, after a satisfying day in the country full of fantastic food and wine, we slept the whole way back to the hotel! Cesar went out of his way to make sure we had an unforgettable experience and his passion and engaging personality made this one of the best tours we've been on. If you're headed to Madrid and are looking for a private guide, we cannot recommend Cesar enough. For more information you can check out his website http://www.winetipodes.com.