After decades of waning wine consumption, Spaniards are starting to rediscover the beverage they are famous for exporting. This renewed interest in vino has expanded offerings around Madrid, a city serving up both veteran bodegas and stylish wine bars.
To try more varieties than the smattering of reds and whites available at most restaurants, jump into the world of Spanish grapes at one of Madrid's many bodegas and bars.
Drinking among wall-to-wall bottles at El Tempranillo © Cassandra Gambill / Lonely Planet
Quintessentially Spanish offerings at El Tempranillo
The first thing visitors notice upon entering Taberna El Tempranillo is the eye-popping display of wall-to-wall wine racks. Boasting over 100 Spanish wines, this proud bodega is popular with tourists and locals alike. If the wine list seems unending, never fear – a chalkboard has shortlisted the current trends. In addition to the tapas, there are many excellent pintxos (slices of bread artfully crowned with toppings such as wild mushrooms, foie gras, or tuna with roasted red peppers). While hardly off the beaten path, El Tempranillo still manages to feel intimate thanks to a mix of diffused lighting, solid service and wistful charm.
White wine and chalkboard recommendations at El Tempranillo © Cassandra Gambill / Lonely Planet
Laid-back vibes at De vinos
Nestled in the hip area of Conde Duque, tavern-like De vinos tempts passers-by to come in for an impromptu drink. This unpretentious place offers a changing selection of Spanish wines as well as a few creative tostas (small bites on toast). The owner invites wine producers to give presentations and tastings at her establishment in the evenings, and Sunday’s 'La Hora del Vermú' attracts fans of on-tap vermouth. This is the type of place where a pop-up play might be surreptitiously scheduled, making that glass of Spanish red even more memorable.
Spanish and French wines at Cascorro Bistrot © Cassandra Gambill / Lonely Planet
Organic wine with French influences at Cascorro Bistrot
Head to Cascorro Bistrot for natural wine in a setting that evokes Parisian bars à vin. Showcasing mainly Spanish wines – with a few options from their northern neighbours – this bar is all about savouring the organic and unconventional. Owners Carlos and Benoît previously spearheaded natural wine businesses in Madrid and Paris; in this latest venture, they’ve teamed up to introduce patrons to lesser-known, artisanal Spanish wines. Try the nutty and effervescent 'Patio', the lush and smoky 'Val de Cid', or whichever tipple is the bar’s latest discovery. If you’re feeling peckish, order a plate of snails or Brie-filled croquettes for the truest of Spanish-French unions.
Vinoteca Vides offers wine from all over Spain © Cassandra Gambill / Lonely Planet
A tour of Spanish wines at Vinoteca Vides
With 125 Spanish wines spanning 62 grape varieties, Vinoteca Vides lets customers discover Spain’s burgeoning wine culture without ever leaving central Madrid. The servers at this welcoming establishment will cheerfully help you navigate the menu and suggest pairings of meat and cheese boards to round out the spread. If you can’t decide, opt for a glass of house wine and enjoy a full-flavoured Petit Verdot or cava-like Macabeo at one of the communal tables. Before leaving, check out the large map of Spain with pins mapped to the geographic origin of each wine. How many have you tried?
Try a vino rosé while in Madrid © Daniel Welsch / Lonely Planet
Affable ambience at The One Wine
A relative newcomer on the Madrid scene, The One Wine is a store-and-bar combo which regularly holds tastings and other wine-centred events. You can easily set up your own tasting thanks to an evolving menu of wines from Spain, Europe and farther afield. Great service is a hallmark here – don’t be surprised if you’re treated to a sip or two of the bar’s newest additions. An added perk is that drinks come with interesting nibbles, such as cava- or caviar-flavoured potato chips.
Wine glasses lined up in a Madrid bar © Catarina Belova / Shutterstock
Time-honoured traditions at Stop Madrid
Stop Madrid, a well-known watering hole, has been going strong since 1929. Decades later, friends continue to chat around the wine barrel tables while balancing a glass of Tempranillo and a tapa. Join the masses at this classic bodega by bellying up to the counter and ordering the wine of the week or asking the bartender for a personalised recommendation. Situated near the tienda-lined Calle Fuencarral, Stop Madrid’s convenient location and generous opening hours allow visitors to pop in for a brief respite while shopping in the city centre.
The inviting terrace at WareHouse © Cassandra Gambill / Lonely Planet
Elegant surroundings at La Hacienda’s WareHouse
Self-described as an 'urban vineyard', WareHouse is ideal for a relaxing break in Madrid’s Salamanca neighbourhood. The concise wine list has been carefully chosen, and waiters can provide detailed information about each drink upon request. While the inside wine bar is impressive, no visit is complete without spending time on the lush outdoor terrace. WareHouse’s shipshape patio is an ode to grape vines, and such an unexpected oasis in the city centre lends an air of exclusivity. The adjoining residence-turned-restaurant makes it easy to stay for a meal if you want to soak up the tranquillity a bit longer.
Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.