Sunday, 20 January 2008

Wine Tasting Event

Wine growers Fabio and Juan hosted a tasting of their organically-grown wines for this season. The event took place at the Patio de Maravillas, a former school that had been abandoned for seven years and was “occupied” last summer and turned into an “autonomously governed multi-purpose space.”

This year they have produced a white wine (Airén grapes), a young red (Tempranillo grapes) and a red wine aged in American and European oak barrels. All last year's production has been sold, and the coming season's wine is already assigned to customers, even before it's produced.

View of the wine testers in the patio de Maravillas

Last year they increased production from 250 to 1200 vines (70% white grapes, 30% red) in the vineyards at Carabaña and moved the winery to Ambite. Production follows organic farming principles and no chemicals are added to the wine, even when this is permitted by regulations. We all tasted the three types of wine, guided by José an oenologist (wine expert) of Bodegas Tagonius, in Tielme, so as to appreciate the finer points. This year they plan to plant and/or graft new vines in the vineyard, where the vine is dead, wild or missing altogether. There are about 250-300 still to do.

There was printed documentation available but unfortunately only on paper; let's hope that this year they get around to putting it on the Web so everyone can read it.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

No End in Sight for Madrid Tunnel Works Cleanup

A walk along the Manzanares river to look at what if any progress has been made in the cleanup operations following the completion of the tunnels. The area was supposed to be landscaped and handed back to the people of the city, but following the press fanfare staged as part of the election campaign. But since the elections in May 2007 the area seems to have been forgotten about. Probably not forgotten about, just put on hold until the next campaign comes around.

Tunnel works on Madrid's M30 ring-road seen from the BridgeThey've managed top plant trees along a pathway opposite the Vicente Calderón football stadium but even that is half-finished, with no proper entrance or exit: we managed to get in through a gap in the wall at one end and out again through an improvised car park on waste ground at the other.

The rest of the area has been more or less cleared of machinery and rubbish, and they've put street lamps along what looks like it will be perhaps a cycle path, but nothing more. The area is still fenced off, and pedestrians look on longingly at the Arganzuela park we used to enjoy, now reduced to a wasteland.