Six Things to Do in the Ribera del Duero, the Land of Bacchus
23 March, 2015
The Ribera del Duero is renowned for being one of Spain’s leading winemaking regions. Sited along the banks of the river Duero, it covers an area of 115 km long by 35 km wide, distributed between the provinces of Soria, Burgos, Segovia and Valladolid. The landscape is characterised by vast swathes of vineyards stretching along the Duero riverbanks, dotted with wine cellars at certain intervals. For wine connoisseurs, moving about this region means revisiting the source of familiar tastes and aromas which they will have encountered at wine-tastings, romantic evenings or festivities. For the novice, it is a unique opportunity to make a triumphal entry into the complex world of nuances. Here are some details on the essential things to do in this region:
1. An Appetiser – Aranda de Duero and its Underground Cellars
Located in the heart of the region, Aranda de Duero is one of the main towns in the Ribera del Duero. Hidden in the basements of the old town is what is known as the bodega de Las Ánimas, no less than 7 kilometres of tunnels and galleries that were excavated between the 13th and 18th century to harness the constant humidity and temperature values (11–13°C) for wine-making. A tour of this cellar can be rounded off by a visit to the Centro de Interpretación de la Arquitectura del Vino (CIAVIN), which highlights how Aranda de Duero and the Ribera del Duero are closely related to wine.
2. Between Glasses of Wine
Let’s cut to the quick –the time has come to meet the makers of “the elixir of Bacchus”. Amid the vast, never-ending array of wine cellars, the best thing is to make a selection of what we’re most interested in, from mere curiosity, through entertainment, to seeking out a particular flavour. In recent times, some wine merchants have elected to revamp their corporate image, as evinced in the design of their buildings. It is therefore rewarding to view the results of applying the latest trends in architecture to their wineries. A case in point is the Bodegas Portia, the work of Norman Foster, Protos, designed by Richard Rogers, along with Alonso Balaguer and Arquitectos Asociados, and the Cepa 21, Pagos del Rey and Legaris wineries.
For those hankering after new sensations, the Matarromera Group, among a wealth of other enotouristic experiences, offer visitors the chance to take on the role of a viniculturist and make their own wine. Exciting, don’t you think?
If you happen to be here during the wine harvest (October–November), some wineries allow you to take part in them, as with the Condado de Haza winery, which hosts a Jornada de Vendimia. But, remember, in all instances you have to book ahead – don’t forget it!
3. Eating Lechazo
The star dish in the Ribera del Duero is lechazo (suckling lamb), roasted over a wood fire after being marinated in a good local wine. We can recommend the Molino de Palacios which, as its name indicates, is located in a windmill in Peñafiel. In autumn they hold a “Game and Field Mushroom Day”. Another pleasant grill-house is the Lagar de Isilla, in Aranda de Duero.
4. A Tour of Peñafiel Castle
Halfway between Valladolid and Aranda de Duero lies the magnificent town of Peñafiel with its striking, walled castle, set atop a hill, dating back to the 10th century. Declared a national monument in 1917, it now houses the Provincial Wine Museum, which promotes the province of Valladolid through the world of wine. Don’t miss out on the stunning views of the valley!
5. Let’s Join the Fiesta!
One of the many summer fiestas which take place in mid-August is Sonorama Ribera, a festival which proves that domestic and international pop and rock marry well with the region’s wine culture. In addition to a wealth of music, the festival programme includes wine tastings, wine cellar breakfasts and more.
6. Wine Therapy?
After all this hustle and bustle, take a well-earned rest and try the treatment offered by the Lavida spa hotel in which the benefits of wine are applied to skin care.
Don’t miss the chance to discover this land of wines – book your fare now!
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Photos by Ruta del Vino Ribera del Duero
23 March, 2015