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Posted: Friday, July 18 2008. 11:50

Spain’s Food & Wine Fairs : A Perpetual Feast

Text & Photographs by Gerry Dawes copyright 2008

Spanish food and wine fairs, wine trade fairs, promotional events and gastronomic conferences can keep dedicated Spanish wine professionals, foodies and aficionados alike busy all year round, writes Gerry  Dawes, the acclaimed food and wine America writer, who  made ten trips last year to Spain, many of them connected two and three deep to Spanish wine events.

Tetsuya Wakuda at Madrid Fusión

Spanish food and wine fairs, wine trade fairs, promotional events and gastronomic conferences can keep dedicated Spanish wine professionals, foodies and aficionados alike busy all year round, as I found out over the course of 2007, when I made a half dozen ten trips to Spain, many of them connected two and three deep to Spanish wine events. Spain now has thousands of wineries and it takes a lot of tastings to bring all that wine to the attention of the press, importers and consumers. In January, it all begins at Madrid Fusión, an annual event, where a roster of the top chefs in Spain—augmented by other star chefs from around the world—come to show the latest superstar cooking techniques. Taking best advantage of the drawing power of the superchefs, ICEX Vinos de España / Wines From Spain puts on a star-studded show of their own at the event. In 2007, celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Wines From Spain presented more than 130 top-rated Spanish wines in several España: Vientos de Terruño / Spain: Winds of Terroir tastings at Madrid Fusión. La Rioja also presented two big panel tastings—one contrasting classic and modern style Rioja reds, the other focusing on versatility of the tempranillo grape.

Ferran Adrià with a food producer at Madrid Fusión

Juli Soler, El Bulli & Teresa Barrenechea, Termomix Spain at Madrid Fusión

Esmeralda Capel with white truffles

José Mari Arzak, Ferran Adrià, Rafael Ansón, Tetsuya Wakuda

Wakuda, Trotter, Norman Van Aken and Friends Having Tapas at Rafa in Madrid

Gerry Dawes and Paul Prudhomme at Madrid Fusión

León Grau, José Luís Contreras, Verema.com & Ricardo Pérez, Descendientes de J. Palacios, Bierzo

That was just the beginning. Later that month in Valencia, the sixth edition of Encuentro Verema, one of Spain's most prestigious wine conferences, took place in Valencia on January 26 and 27 at the five-star Meliá Valencia Palace Hotel. The conference, organized by Valencia-based verema.com, one of the world's most visited wine websites, featured two days of high level seminars and tastings. Bodegas Herederos de Marqués de Riscal, presented "The Evolution of Rioja Wines in the Past Century," following by a tasting of historic vintages of Marqués de Riscal Reserva wines back to the stellar, legendary 1945, as well as their 2001 Barón de Chirel, perhaps the greatest in that wine’s history. The next day, Managing Director-Winemaking Team Leader Agustín Santolaya of Bodegas Roda presented a tasting of representative vintages from the winery since its creation. One of the event’s highlights was the presentation of the Verema Awards for 2006 to: Best Bodega 2006: Bodegas Roda; Rising Star Bodega: Viñas del Vero; Best Wine Award 2006: Vega Sicilia Único 1994; Wine Personality of the Year 2006 Award: Mariano García of Bodegas Mauro, Maurodos and other wineries; and Award for Best Restaurant Wine Service: Restaurante Atrio (Cáceres).

                                                           

 

 

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