Madrid, the capital city of Spain, has been better known for centuries as a large consumer of wine than as producer. The Vinos de Madrid only made their appearance on the market in 1990. This Spanish wine is produced close to the city, at Alcorcón, Móstoles, Leganés, and Getafe in the west, Arganda and Aranjuez in the south-east, and a very small area of Alcalá de Henares between Guadalajara en Madrid. Because of the large market on the doorstep no attempt has yet been made to export these Spanish wines. For this reason you are unlikely to encounter these wines of the Meseta.
This area to the south-west of Madrid (close to the small towns of Mentrida and Torrijos) was also renowned for its cheap but heavy and highly alcoholic Spanish wine which sold readily through bars and cafés in Madrid. Even after the authorities gave a quandary to the apathetic growers, who had little ambition, with DO recognition in 1960, little appeared to change among the local bodegas. It was only after nearby Madrid gained its own DO and threatened Mentrida’s market that the growers in Mentrida woke up. Since 1991 the Spanish wine making equipment has been replaced at a vigorous tempo or at least greatly improved. The Spanish wine has been somewhat amended to meet the wishes of today’s wine drinker with a lighter structure and less alcohol but above all more refinement in taste.
The high Meseta plateau is enormous, and with the exception of a few small hills, is a vast plain. The wine-growing areas include the DO territories of Vinos de Madrid and Mentrida (below Madrid), La Mancha and Valdepeñas (between Madrid, Ciudad Real and Albacete), and the brand new DO of Ribera del Guadiana in Extremadura, close to the border with Portugal.