Gourmet Madrid

Many do not realize, but Spain is all about wine.  With 130 varieties of grapes grown in the Spanish country side, Spaniards will quickly tell you that their wine rivals neighboring France on any level.  Well, this does come from the step child of the region when it comes to wine making.  But seriously, France enjoys a certain level of branding of their wines. Having been to Spain before, I was well aware of the Spanish wine industry. I have regularly consumed Spanish wines for for over a decade.

So I decided that a wine tour was in order when in Madrid during this last trip. I searched the internet and came up with Gourmet Madrid, offering wine tours on select days of the week. Research confirmed that this was a quality outfit, so I signed up for a wine tour of the Madrid wine region. 125E purchase a day tour with a guide, subject to a maximum of 20 people.  Price includes visits to three wineries in the smallish village of Chincon, where we to visit three wineries.  WE were motored by air conditioned bus some 60 kilometers south of Madrid.  Our host was very knowledgeable about the wine region.  He spoke fluent English.

The winery operations are nothing like that of of NAPA Valley.  These were all family run operations. The first, the winery of Jesus Diaz, was in an old convent building.  This was the largest and most interesting of wineries.  They put out about 300,000 litres a year. Included at this winery were deep cellars several levels down where the convent dug for apparent protection  from the political and/or religious challenges of the times. Tasting here was 4 different wines, each glass about a third full.  OK.  I understand.  You have 7 years of university……if you do the math, thats a  lot of wine considering this was one of three. You are right.  Prepare for this on the tour. Of course, bottles were offered for sale, and at really terrific prices for really good wines. Bottle pricing ranged from 2,6E to around 6E.

The next stop was at a small winery run by a charming lady named Consuelo, and her elderly father. The operation was no more than a total of 1000 square feet.  Lunch was next.  In an open restaurantt overlooking the town square where a bull fight had been staged just the weekend before, the food was wonderful.  And lunch was served with, well, more wine. One word of caution, I did consume a menu item which was great, but contained vegetables.  I had been told to stay away from vegetables in Spain, but I did not heed that advice.  The result was a case of Salmonella (according to my doctor after the fact).  Fever the following night of at lest 102 ensued. So please be aware and cautious.  Time was given to walk the village.  Another nice touch.

We visited one winery in the afternoon.  We were late to the scheduled time, so the host had to go to the owners house to open the winery. This winery seem like an afterthought on this tour, by this time, we were all ready to return to Madrid.  Needless to say, the bus ride on he return was quiet, with several sleeping off their wine tasting.

This tour was well worth the cost.  The logistics were easy.  You met at a certain time at the Ritz Hotel in the center of Madrid. The Ritz knew nothing of the meeting place or Gourmet Madrid.  So there were a few moments of challenge trying to find our guide.  However, when you make your reservation, they give the guide’s cell phone number.  He answers his calls.

I highly recommend this tour. You will learn much on Spanish wines, and the wines of the Madrid wine region, which has it’s own certification program which all small wineries strive to achieve. This is a great way to spend a day in the Madrid area, and you will be pleased by the tour, and the drive into the Spanish country side

A link to Gourmet Madrid is above under the title at the beginning of this article.

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