Salon Gourmets 2009 Food and Wine Show Closes in Madrid

by mary on April 5, 2009

The wine tunnel at the Salon Gourmets in MadridAnother edition of the Salon Gourmets has past in the Feria de Madrid…Gourmets is a four day professional food and wine show that launches the fair season.   In the past wine has been a much bigger part of the show and this year I noticed that even less wineries participated.  Food dominates this show and sadly I’ve seen the wine component diminish every year.  Wine shows in Spain have yet to find the international audience that justifies many wineries participation.  It’s a fun show to walk around, with delectable offerings at stands such as jamon, olive oils, cheese, paella and even grilled steaks and roasted suckling pigs.  It’s a bit of a struggle to get samples at the most interesting stands as there are often long lines, but very fun.  Another interesting element are all the national and international gourmet stands looking for distribution in Spain.  I’ve notice a huge increase in those over six years…a great sign of the times…Spain is going gourmet big time!  As to the wine scene…there were a few interesting regional offerings, especially from Castilla Leon, and Galicia.  I tasted a fascinating 150€ wine from the Denominacion Vinos de Madrid!  I’ll be doing a separate post on the Ricardo Benito Winery.  The best wine section of Gourmets is the Wine Tunnel.  In the wine tunnel, wine is served at stands organized into grape varieties.  The first edition was last year and I went thinking there would be few wines of great interest, that they would mostly be inexpensive wines.  It turns out the wines offered at the stands are some of the top wines in Spain, some very expensive and the wine tunnel is a great opportunity to taste different styles of the same varietal from around Spain.  Read on for information on some fo the stand out wines in the wine tunnel this year. 

Last year the tunnel was empty and I was allowed to enjoy it crowd-free, this year it was full of culinary and wine students with their teachers.  It was still worth it.  As you enter the tunnel you are given a tasting booklet and a glass and you can start tasting the whites.  In the white section we had Verdejo, Godello, Albariño, Chardonnay and Palomino.  Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez, though white, are placed at the end as the wines are largely fortified and/or sweet.

A stand out at the Verdejo stand this year was the 2007 Belondrade y Lurton, the pioneering barrel-fermented Verdejo from the Rueda region.  In recent years I have found the wine to be over-oaked, but this vintage was delicious…much more restrained oak, full body, silky texture, super long finish.At the Godello stand, I really enjoyed the Viña Godeval Cepas Vellas, a very intense and piercing version of this wonderful grape.  The Albariños largely disappointed me, but there was one stand out:  the Fefiñanes III Año 2005.  This wine is made in stainless steel with three months over lees…pretty typical for modern Albariño.  What’s different is that the winery lays down the bottles for 24 months before releasing them to the market…thus the name “third year.”  There is some though that some Albariños really improve with some bottle age…this is certainly an example of that.  A rich nose, with pineapple and leesy aromas.  The mouth is round and fuller than most Albariños…really wonderful!  I was not impressed with any of the Chardonnays and unfortunately ahd to skip the sherries at the Palomino stand.  I started out the red varieties at the Garnacha stand…not as impressive of a selection as at other stands.  The best of the lot, by far, was the Secastilla 2005.  This is an old vine Garnacha from Viñas del Vero in Somontano and has always been great.  I’d forgotten about it for a while and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is.  So intense and structured, with great acidity and surprisingly firm tannins for a Garnacha. 
At the Mencía stand, most of the good wines had run out.  The best of the rest was the Peique Seleccion Familiar, though I found it too intensely tannic…definitely needs some time. 
At the Monastrell stand I liked the Lavia + from DO Bullas much more than the El Sequé 2006 from Alicante.  The Lavia + 2005 was much rounder and fruiter…the Sequé, which I usually love, was austere and tough in this vintage…no doubt it will improve.  Moastrell also makes great sweet wiens and I tasted two…I much preferred the Olivares to the Castaño.  Olivares is one of our all time favorite Spanish wines.  The Castaño is much softer and sweeter and definitely more suitable for many wine drinkers.  We prefer the Olivares because it is very vintage port-like.  An intense, tannic, acidic red than happens to be sweet.  I love that red wine structure it has. Sadly they grouped Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah on one table this year and most of the good ones were gone.  On the Cab side, I enjoyed the Desierto de Azul y Garanza from Navarra.  On the Syrah side I found the Dehesa del Carrizal quite tannic.As usual the Tempranillo table was one of the most interesting though many of the best were gone.  In Rioja I tried the El Puntido, which was great…lots of fruit, oak, tannin and acidity, but all in great balance…impressive.  The Sierrra Cantabria Colleccion Privada was very good…much more structured than in many previous years.  Love the smoky nose on the Pujanza, though I found it tough and tannic in the mouth.  From Cigales I tried the Cesar Principe 2005…delicious…intense black fruit, really well integrated oak.  Only had time for one fortified wine…I tried the Seco Trasañejo Pedro Ximenez from Bodegas Malaga Virgen.  Oxidative aging for 50 years in oak!  Seriously impressive…intense fig and nut nose.  Full, dryish mouth…loads of dried fruit…lasts years in the finish.  So unique!
Love the wine tunnel….

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