Last week I attended a wine tasting at Madrid & Darracott hosted by Bodega Madrid Romero. You may notice there are rather a lot of ‘Madrids’ in that previous sentence. That’s because Roque Madrid, one of the proprietors of the wine shop Madrid & Darracott, is a cousin of the Madrid Romero family that run the Bodega of the same name. You all still following me?
The bodega is based in El Carche Valley, a protected natural park, in the D.O. Jumilla in Murcia, Spain. El Carche is a Sierra (mountain range) that divides Murcia from Valencia and can be found inland from Alicante. So this is definitely a Mediterranean climate, i.e. lots of sun and humidity, but as the valley is on the western side of the Sierra and therefore, I presume, sheltered from the coastal weather patterns, probably not as windy as the coast can get. You are talking a hot hot environment: high heat, humidity in morning, dry in afternoon.
The earth is very stony and, at Bodega Madrid Romero, everything has to be done by hand. In particular the grape vines must be trained in a manner to ensure that the suns rays are evenly spread over the grapes so that no grape gets too much sun and dries out. They are then harvested into large roomy containers to prevent the grapes from being crushed and manually sorted to hand select which grapes will go into the wine.
The D.O. Jumilla is known for big, bold, high tannin red wines made from the Monstrell grape. They have been growing this grape in the region for over 5000 years. Bodega Madrid Romero quoted a saying in Jumilla that the ‘Monstrell grape is as rough as Murcian girls’. Not sure what that says about the women in the region, but basically it is grape that is difficult to work with by itself and is often blended with other varieties to smooth out the rough edges.
Now as you know big bold red wines are not my thing, but I know a guy, an inveterate coffee drinker, who thinks Jumilla Monstrell wines are the best thing since sliced bread. Each to their own. What interested me about this bodega is that they also had some white and rose wines on offer. I had no idea D.O. Jumilla made these wines, so was curious. If you do prefer your red wines to be a bit meatier and high in tannins then steer yourself over to D.O. Jumilla and Bodega Madrid Romero would not be a bad place to start.
This is a family run business with a gourmet restaurant on site run by Michelin star chefs, plus wine tastings and visits held on a regular basis. The family has a long history in food and wine and are clearly passionate about the subject. The bodega was started by Rosana Madrid Romero who originally worked as a reporter, but after an accident she reassessed her life and turned to her true passion: wine. She clearly understands modern marketing in the food and drinks industry and there seems to be a few passionate discussions with the older generation of her Father and Grandfather of the importance of presenting the wine versus the quality of the wine itself. She quotes her Father saying that ‘good wine is made in the earth not in bottle’. We totally agree, but in the flooded Spanish wine market you also have to be seen and differentiate yourself in some way for people to notice your wines in the first place. Fortunately Rosana understands the importance off both quality and presentation. The Bodega Madrid Romero wines are worth trying and it looks like an interesting pace to visit.
One of the great things about their wines is that each one was blended to represent a different family member.
The Grandmother: Sauvignon white-Macabeo is the wine from the 3 Calas collection that conveys the elegance associated with Mercedes Romero, the first generation of the family. Light and elegant, it is perfect to be enjoyed in the warm sun when the good weather arrives.
The Daughter: Garnacha-Monastrell rosé wine from the 3 Calas collection represents the beauty personified in Martina Madrid, the third generation of the family. Delicate and feminine, pale, with the intense captivating fruity aroma and a freshness that makes it a perfect option any time.
The Mother: Monastrell-Syrah wine from the 3 Calas collection stands for the simplicity personified in Rosana Madrid Romero, the second generation of the family. Its expressive and intense character makes it perfect to share with friends on any occasion.
Now I want a wine that expresses me!
Oh well, we can all dream I guess. Stay tuned over the next few days as I write up the wines we tasted at the Bodega Madrid Romero wine tasting.