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Aug 31 2016

El Regajal, The Prestige of The Butterfly

El Regajal is a unique estate located in the district of Aranjuez, at the southern limits of the province of Madrid. The area is famous with entomologists throughout the world due to the astounding fact that 77 of the 225 butterfly species found in the Iberian Peninsular live in this very spot. So, it comes as no surprise that the star on this DO Vinos de Madrid bodega’s wine-label is a butterfly, which has conquered the hearts of eminent critics from both home and abroad


El Regajal has been renowned for its wealth of lepidoptera since the mid-19th century, stirring up interest not just because of the abundance of insects, but also because of the rarity of some of the examples. It has been highly praised by prestigious organisations such as the ‘International Union for Nature Conservation’, which made the statement that: “El Regajal is unique, not only in Spain but also in the world”. 

Accordingly, and in an effort to maintain sustainable development, El Regajal combines entomological investigative activities, for example its own butterfly farm and research centre, with a 16-hectare vineyard, all within the framework of a modern plantation. The entire bodega has been built underground in order to preserve the estate’s landscape to the full. It also employs advanced quality techniques such as grape-bunch selection, berry selection, controlled fermentation in small vats to ensure homogeneity, and malolactic fermentation in oak, among others. Biodynamic practices are also used.

Five grape varieties

Vine plantation began in1998. The main varieties are Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon counterbalanced, in lesser quantities, by Merlot and Syrah. In May 2001 the last of the varieties, Petit Verdot, was planted.

The estate sits in a major river valley, surrounded by hills and knolls, and other nearby lateral valleys, and has a small stream running through it which has runoffs fed by filtrations from the ‘Mar de Ontígola’, the local artificial lake. The resident vegetation is primarily kermes oaks, which are gaining on the traditional La Mancha holly oak now in decline, intermingled with esparto grass, broom shrubs, thyme, olive trees, and vines. 

The 16-hectare vineyard is located at an altitude of 500 to 600 metres above sea-level, and is distributed around the estate in four plots of agricultural land previously used for cereal crops. 

El Regajal boasts a continental climate typical of the plateau, with cold winters and dry, hot summers. The tempering effect of the Tagus and Jarama rivers affords the region a unique microclimate. The soils are divided into three strata, chalky top-soil, sandy with gypsum in the middle, and loamy-clay at the bottom.

Three wines for differents palates and budgets

This first wine this bodega launched was El Regajal Selección Especial whose first vintage is from 2001. From every year since then, a limited production of an impeccable coupage from the estate’s different varieties has been maintained, aged 13 months in the very best French oak. This wine enjoys an outstanding reputation both in Spain and abroad, and has generated excellent reviews from the prestigious magazine, The Wine Advocate, due to its complexity, balanced aromas, fruity overtones, and smooth tannins culminating in a final mixture of elegance and seduction. 

In 2010 the winary put into de market Las Retamas de El Regajal, a second wine, more accesible both in price and in the structure of the wine. It is a Tempranillo blend with about 10 months in French oak, easy but really pleasant wine.

At long last, there is the ultra-premium ‘Galia’, a wine that the winery produces out of Madrid in DO Ribera del Duero with biodynamic parameters. A blend of Tempranillo (93%) and Garnacha (7%) from very old vines, with an aging of 18 months in French oak barrels. A wine of terroir.

US and  Switzerland, the main markets 

The US is one of this bodega’s principal markets, to where around 30 percent of its total production is exported. However, El Regajal’s most important customer is Switzerland, followed by Belgium, Germany, and Holland. 

The obvious virtues of this bodega, its sensational wine, its wonderful facilities, and its entomological interest all combine to make it a must-see visit for ecotourism enthusiasts.  

El Regajal has been renowned for its wealth of lepidoptera since the mid-19th century, stirring up interest not just because of the abundance of insects, but also because of the rarity of some of the examples Wines from Spain/©ICEX
El Regajal
El Regajal
El Regajal
El Regajal

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