Saturday, 15 August 2009

Madiran - the best fete des vins ever?

Having spent most of yesterday at a Citroen garage in Aire sur l'Adour waiting to find out how long it would take to replace the gearbox after it seized just outside Termes d'Armagnac, we were probably more receptive to light relief than usual but this was one of the great wine fairs.

The reason was plenty of seriously good wines - all Madiran and Pacharenc - mixed in with some great entertainment including a bunjee-trampoline for the kids (and quite a lot of people who should have known better after tasting all those wines) and some fabulous live music. One band consisted of a singer equipped with a megaphone, a guy with a snare drum, another with a tuba and one with a guitar (there was one more - I can't remember what he did and the photo doesn't help much). Their version of Jumping Jack Flash made the Stones look and sound extremely amateurish which, of course, they were. My musical highlight of the year!

Lots to do around the village too although this all cost money unlike the tasting arena which was all free (including the bunjee) - the only cost in the tasting zone was 3€ for a glass. And any wine purchased, of course.

So many wines to taste and with three small children on a blazing hot day, I only got to taste at half a dozen or so stands including Berthoumieu, Aydie, Capmartin, Producteurs de Plaimont and Crampilh. For me, the Berthoumieu wines were the most interesting but I enjoyed Guy Capmartin's exceptionally good value "Vieilles Vignes" enough to buy a few bottles and visit the estate a few days later to stock up.

Of all the sub-regions of South-West France, this has to be least interesting to visit in terms of geography and architecture but I will be returning to the Madiran fete which is certainly worth a detour if not a trip in itself.

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