Archive for July 12th, 2019

July 12, 2019

SQY,,,Montigny,,, memories of the Yvelines!

On a sunny day in my neck of the woods I take the blog to remind myself of wonderful times of the past, sometimes bits of it in my blog but feel they merit more. This is an area near my old home that I frequented a lot with the family for shopping, entertainment and just plain sightseeing in the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region. I like to dwell on them a bit if i may, thanks.

I never figure this out but in France, the trend in the last 20-30 years is to do regrouping of towns into intercity communities or agglomérations and create new towns. Vive la différence!! This is the case with Saint Quentin en Yvelines.

The agglo area of Saint Quentin en Yvelines new town union includes the towns of Coignières,Élancourt,Guyancourt,La Verrière,Les Clayes-sous-Bois,Magny-les-Hameaux,Maurepas,Montigny-le-Bretonneux,Plaisir,Trappes, Voisins-le-Bretonneux,  and Villepreux.  I had hightlight the towns where we spent lots of time while in the area.  Just to mention this is not the only agglo or intercity zones here. These are all in the Yvelines dept 78 with their French names: Communauté d’agglomération de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Communauté d’agglomération Rambouillet Territoires,  Communauté d’agglomération Saint-Germain Boucle de la Seine,  Communauté d’agglomération Versailles Grand Parc, Communauté de communes Coeur d’Yvelines,  Communauté de communes des Portes de l’Ile-de-France, Communauté de communes du Pays Houdanais,  Communauté de communes Gally – Mauldre,  Communauté de communes Haute Vallée de Chevreuse ,et Communauté urbaine Grand Paris Seine & Oise.

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines is an agglomeration community  in the department of Yvelines (78) , west of Versailles. It owes its name to the Chapel Saint-Quentin, in which rested the remains of Saint Quentin, chapel located on the site of the present leisure base, whose site was chosen to become the center of a new city. Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines at about  20 km from Paris.

The outdoor and leisure base (base de loisirs) , offers an area of ​​600 hectares including a lake of 120 hectares. There is a unique whitewater course in Europe, a sandy beach of 5,000 m2 dedicated to swimming, and a water ski lift. The base also has a golf course, an equestrian center and a pony club. It also houses 90 hectares of nature reserve classified Natura 2000.  The velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, which hosts the headquarters of the French Cycling Federation, was inaugurated in December 2013. The city hosted the world championships in track cycling in 2015.

Montigny-le-Bretonneux is a simple town that had  discovered prehistoric remains in the last century, near the pond Caillon, confirms the distant existence of this locality. However, its history will remain, until the early 1970s, that of a small traditional village in the Ile-de-France countryside, naturally devoted to agriculture. Montigny-le-Bretonneux is the central and main town of the agglomeration of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The city is made up of nine neighborhoods, including Saint-Quentin, which is at the same time the main center of the agglomeration and that of the town.  Go figure!

In Saint Quentin en Yvelines we love to come shopping at the mall there ,for the cinema and celebrated many younger days birthdays for my kids with friends at the bowling alley. The cinema Cine Cité SQY :

saint quentin en yvelines

A cinema webpage allôcine in France:

Saint Quentin en Yvelines

saint quentin en yvelines

A beautiful shopping area where we find the main brands around the Carrefour hypermarket. In any case, the purchases have always been made in serenity …. with free parking 3h nearby, just convenient and essential.Just came back again after worries of demolition for a housing project!

Shopping center and cinema SQY here:

saint quentin en yvelines

The shopping center has many stores and the memories are many . The bowling center is mentioned in the town’s site of Montigny-les-Bretonneux which is part of the Agglo area of SQY.   The info is here:

The town of Montigny-le-Bretonneux ,we used to go to see the baseball games of the Montigny Cougars playing in the French second division or like Triple A level; since 2017 thereabouts ,they have move up to the First division top league in France, their stadium was on our way to the shopping center/cinema/bowling;  here is their official site

The new agglo area of the new towns of Saint Quentin en Yvelines now grouping also Montigny-les-Bretonneux  as tourist info are here:

The Saint-Quentin / Montigny-le-Bretonneux train station hosts, in particular, RER  line C towards the Paris, as well as a connection to La Défense in about twenty minutes. You can reach the Montparnasse train station in about forty minutes maximum. Bus Nigh Line N145 route: Gare de l’Est / La Verrière with main stops at  Paris Chatelet, Montparnasse, Versailles-Chantiers, Saint-Cyr, Gare de Montigny – Saint Quentin en Yvelines, and Trappes.

The bus network SQYBUS can take you to Paris with the line 475 : Elancourt- De Lattre de Tassigny → Paris Porte d’Orléans ;The network webpage here:

To move in the region of ïle de France use ViaNavigo site here:

The area has a huge amount of cultural centers and heritage monuments as well as theme parks that I have touch briefly in previous posts in my blog. This entry is for the memories but at the same time to get you ,hopefully, to get out of Paris and see France, the Yvelines especially a huge history of France was played in this area ïle de France or Island of France and the Yvelines played a major role with its several Royal towns like my beloved Versailles.

Hope you have enjoy the brief tour and hope can see your posts on this wonderful memorable area of mine and my family.  Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Montigny-le-Bretonneux are just two spots in my life.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



July 12, 2019

The wines of Madrid!

So coming into dangerous waters to many as most people cannot believe there are wines in the Comunidad de Madrid autonomous region of my beloved Spain!  Yes they are and quite some time there too.  Needless to point out my wine roots , repeated so many times lol! You can look it up in my blog..! I like to tell you about a dear subject of mines and one area where I have lived and enjoy them since teenager days of glory. Well back then there were not that good just the thrill. The wines of Madrid or Vinos de Madrid has grown into adulthood as the rest of my Spain.

I like to tell you a bit about the Vinos de Madrid and hope that when in the capital you try the local product ok.

A bit on the history of vineyards in Madrid should begin my story me think

The existence of the wine industry in the current limits of Madrid date from the 13C, but it is not unreasonable to speculate on the existence of vineyards and wines in the region many centuries before. The Arab invasion did not put in serious risk the vineyards that they found on their arrival since, in spite of the Koranic prohibition, the cultivation of the vine maintained a notable presence in Muslim Spain. Even so, it would be necessary to wait until the 13-14C to verify the existence of vineyards conceived as a specialized agrarian activity, around the towns. It is, then, the 13C, the date of the first documents dating from the existence of wines from Madrid. The Golden Age is an important moment for the region and for its wines. The election of Madrid as capital of the kingdom supposes a remarkable growth of the demand and, in turn, of the production. In addition to the many times praised wines of San Martin, the capital is supplied by the production of Arganda, Alcalá de Henares, Fuencarral, Alcobendas, Torrelaguna, etc. The wines consumed during the reign of king Felipe IV came, above all, from the surroundings of Madrid. Valdemoro wine was famous, but the most prestigious ones were still the precious wines of San Martín, to which those of Cadalso and Pelayos had joined. Madrid reached the 20C with more than 60,000 hectares of vineyards, but in 1914 the first phylloxera was detected in San Martín de Valdeglesias. The plague spreads rapidly, ruining the Madrid vineyard and causing a substantial change in their wines. The recovery is slow and is done with foreign varieties, especially Garnacha (Grenache). But the real recovery would not occur until the 1950s, with the massive introduction of varieties selected for their quantitative yield and alcohol grade, with a predominance of Garnacha in the areas of Navalcarnero and San Martín and Airén grapes in Arganda. At this time most cooperatives emerge.

The 1980’s mark a spectacular change in the Spanish wine scene, to which the wines from Madrid does not remain excluded. The history of what it can be call the new Madrid wine starts in 1984, with the recognition of the Wines of Madrid Specific Denomination. In March of 1986 the Ministry of Agriculture approves the Wines Specific Denomination of Madrid. Finally, in November 1990, the Wines of Madrid Denomination of Origin was officially recognized. The following year, the bottles with the Vinos de Madrid back label are already on the market and since January 1992, the first aging wines  (crianzas) have been commercialized.

Where are the wines of Madrid, let’s give you some geography. Look up these towns on the bottle!

The biggest subzone is that of Aganda del Rey  located southeast of the región of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid). These includes 31 towns such as Ambite, Aranjuez, Arganda del Rey, Belmonte de Tajo, Brea del Tajo, Campo Real, Carabaña, Colmenar de Oreja, Chinchón, only finca “El Encín” (Alcalá de Henares), Estremera, Fuentidueña de Tajo, Getafe, Loeches, Mejorada del Campo, Morata de Tajuña, Nuevo Baztán, Olmeda de las Fuentes, Orusco, Perales de Tajuña, Pezuela de las Torres, Pozuelo del Rey, Tielmes, Titulcia, Torres de la Alameda, Valdaracete, Valdelaguna, Valdilecha, Villaconejos, Villamanrique de Tajo, Villar del Olmo and Villarejo de Salvanés. Which I have croses on many occasions.  Through its lands  runs the Tajuña and Henares rivers, tributaries of the Jarama river, that in turn ends at the Tajo river.  The 27 Bodegas that belongs to this subzone of  Arganda produce about 20M liters that is about a bit more than 50% of the wine produce in this denomination of origin.

Next subzone is that of Navalcarnero, on the central part of the región, which includes 19 towns such as Aldea del Fresno, Arroyomolinos, Batres, Brunete, El Álamo, Fuenlabrada, Griñón, Humanes de Madrid, Moraleja de el medio, Móstoles, Navalcarnero, Parla, Serranillos del Valle, Sevilla la Nueva, Valdemorillo, Villamanta, Villamantilla, Villanueva de la Cañada ,and Villaviciosa de Odón.  This subzone has the least extensive cultivation with about 14% of the vineyards area. It is a flat terrain area running the Guadarrama river north to south of it and on the extreme west the Perales river tributary of the Alberche river. There are 5 Bodegas here that produce about 20% of the wines of the region Denominación de Origen Vinos de Madrid.

Last but not least we have San Martin de Valdeiglesias that includes 9 towns such as Cadalso de los Vidrios, Cenicientos, Colmenar del Arroyo, Chapinería, Navas del Rey, Pelayos de la Presa, Rozas de Puerto Real, San Martín de Valdeiglesias , and Villa del Prado. It has 35% of the vineyards área. The main wáter source here is the Alberche river. There are 12 bodegas in this subzone producing 30% of the wine.

There are many varieties of grapes allowed the main ones are

White: Albillo Real.  It is the earliest maturing variety in Madrid. It is very unproductive. The clusters are small, golden at maturity, in a varied way. The skin is very fine, so it is also very appreciated as a table grape. Malvar: It is a productive variety, with an upright bearing, with large and loose bunches, cylindrical in shape. It presents a medium maturation, advanced with respect to the Airén.

Reds: Garnacha Tinta. Late maturing. Grenache strains have an upright shape and medium-sized, conical clusters, usually compact, although they tend to bleed. It is very productive, although in Madrid it usually presents low yields. Tinto Fino (elsewhere known as Tempranillo): Of medium maturation. It has a semi erect shape. It is not a very productive variety. The clusters are medium sized, compact and cylindrical and with two characteristic shoulders.

Other varieties authorised planted are On the whites: Airén Macabeo (elsewhere known as Viura), Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Parellada, Torrontés (elsewhere known as Alarije),  and Sauvignon Blanc. On the  Reds they have Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Merlot, Negral (elsewhere known as Garnacha Tintorera), Petit Verdot, and Syrah. The types of wines you can have from this region are Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva, Vino Sobremadre (white and red with carbonic gas wines) and Espumoso (sparkling).

Some favorite bodegas over the years in my house.Brief details.

Cuevas del Real Cortijo de San Isidro SA webpage:

Bodega Antonio Benito, webpage:

Vinos Jeromin, S.L webpage:

My best references on Jeromin are the bottles of Puerta del Sol, Puerta de Alcalá, and Puerta de Hierro very emblematic of Madrid indeed but good.


Marqués de Grinon Family Estates SA webpage :

My reference from this great Castilla La Mancha property is the El Rincón

Some webpages to help you find the bottles if not able to come to the Bodegas themselves, (highly recommended!) are in Madrid Santa Cecilia and Lavinia.

Santa Cecilia:


Additional webpages to help you find your way through the wines of Madrid!

The tourist office of Vinos de Madrid

The Denomination of Origin or Consejo Regulador of Vinos de Madrid:

There you go, now me think you should be ready to try these wines and enjoy them as I have for years. The wines of Spain are coming up and still great value price/quality ratio; those of Madrid are tops on this list. The Vinos de Madrid, muy buenos!

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!






%d bloggers like this: