Chulapa wine oak barrels

When we started our project back in 2010, our preliminary fieldwork consisted in getting to know the most part of the 45 wineries and vineyards of the designation of origin. Our objective was to spot one perfect winery where we could start making our signature wines from Madrid.

Even if it is unsuspected for the capital and largest city of Spain, there has been a long tradition of winemaking in the Madrid area. There is documented evidence of vineyards planted here in the 13th century but it is commonly said that vines were introduced in Madrid as the Roman Empire was expanding in the Iberian Peninsula with Spain supplying it with olive oil and wine.

Madrid vineyards are located in the southern part of the capital city. The designation of origin is quite small, with about 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of planted vines. It is divided in 3 subzones with distinctive characteristics. Arganda is the biggest subregion with more than 50% of the vineyards. Primary grapes in Arganda are Malvar for white and Tempranillo for red, both indigenous, while the 2 other subareas main red grape is Garnacha, another Spanish variety.

The Tempranillo grape is named after the word “temprano” that means “early” in Spanish because it ripens sooner than other Spanish grapes. It is Spain’s flagship variety and produces the most praised Spanish wines around the world. Tempranillo grapes deliver summer fruit aromas in young, unoaked wines while developing elegant notes of ripe red fruits and spices when aged in oak barrels.

Since Tempranillo suited perfectly the style of wine we envisioned making, we decided to settle in the Arganda region, temple of this grape variety in Madrid. The soils here are a mixture of clay and lime and the climate is strongly continental with extreme cold in winter and extreme heat in summer. Arganda is the hottest and the most arid of the 3 subzones. However, the altitude of Madrid, highest capital city in Europe, brings significant swings between day and night temperatures and enables the grapes to ripen more slowly and develop more complex flavors.

Our cooperative project is set in a local Arganda winery that was established in the 1930s. Our winemaker works hand in hand with the local winery team to create the best expression of Tempranillo wine from Madrid. Our goal is to launch a range of perfectly balanced wines with multiple layers of aromas and flavors.

We lead exhaustive barrel tasting throughout the process of oak ageing in order to determine at which point our wines acquire both perfect aromatic complexity and structure. The experience of barrel tasting proves that even when filled the same day with the same wine, each single barrel has its own characteristics and is slightly different. This implies the most careful selection of the wine in barrels to create the desired final blend.

After the maturation in oak barrels, our wine is aged in bottle for several months. The bottle ageing adds roundness and delicacy to the wine. Through the reduction process operated in the bottle, i.e. ageing in the absence of oxygen, the wine develops the final bouquet (fine aromas that appear during bottle ageing), thus achieving its subtle balance.

The moment our wine is ready to drink announces the second part of our job, marketing and selling it around the world. Our utmost objective was to launch an emblematic wine brand for Madrid and the fruit of this work is showcased in the wine section of this website. The only clue we consent to reveal is that “she” wears a ruby dress…