Help Finding the Best Spanish Wine Route

Feb 10th, 2014, 07:10 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Help Finding the Best Spanish Wine Route

Hi All,

I have heard that Spain is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy their wines. I know that the recommended areas for a wine route vacation is Andalusia, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. What I would like to know is if these areas are similar to Tuscany, Alsace or Provence as far as scenic small villages, beautiful landscape and good restaurants. If someone could recommend an area that is enjoyable to meander through, I'd appreciate it. Also, where would be a good place to make our home base?

We would also like to fly to Portugal, so if you have any advice about where to stay in that country I'd love to hear it.

Just as an aside, I've already been to Madrid, San Sebastian and the Costa del Sol so I'd rather not repeat those areas. We would have 2 weeks to spend.

Thank you--this will help me jump-start my research.
judyjayp is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 07:56 AM
  #2  
 
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Andalusia? Well for the Sherries and their similar style products yes, but the Cadiz and palomino stnd whites are not up to much.

Andalusian wines are mainly made in the bodegas and so while the slopes look like dusty low level slopes the clever bit is in the building so not like Tuscany at all. There is a small wine region to the East of Jerez which produces similar wines without adding alcohol, very special but produced in a town that looks like something out of District 9.

Ribera and Rioja is a bit more like it. Rioja is more set up for visitors. Rioja tourist board do a piece of two sided paper you can print off their website (if you have to join the club first but that is just to get your email and then you can down load their list of visitable bodegas). The website is http://www.lariojaturismo.com/usuarios/presentacion.php



While pleasant still not like Tuscany and very much not like Alsace. Still, out in the country with small towns with nice scenic roads and places to stop.

Generally Ribera is stretched out along a minor highway, at least one stunning (narrow, you go and see what I mean) castle and a great deal of money has been spent to develop some very fine vines, almost new world in their organisation but it is not easy to farm gate a taste. Have a dig around and if you find a good source come back and let me know.

Do not forget Barcelona where Torres is nearly based (very farm gate if not Disney) and the fizzes like Freixenet (another good day out)

Portugal; after the Port wine region and the Dao, then the northern green wines, my favorite place is Alentejo, this is the new up-an-coming wine region with prices that are a steal but some good investement.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 10:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 47
It would be difficult to recommend a place to stay without having a budget. Do you have an idea on how much you want to spend or which area you like to stay in Portugal, Rioja, Ribeira or in the Sherry Triangle? The time of year will also greatly impact the cost.

As noted, the Rioja is about 20 years or so ahead of the Ribera del Douro in terms of wine touring. It has the scenery but not the truly picturesque villages found in Tuscany, Alsace and Provence, but then the wine are completely different and complex because of the land.

The Sherry Triangle has been around awhile, but wine touring is different there than in the Rioja. You can go to one of the famous Sherry houses in Jerez de la Fontera, (Sandeman, González Byass, Williams & Humbert) or visit the actual bodegas in Jerez, Arcos de la Fontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Because of the layout of the Ribera del Douro, it covers three provinces, Valladolid, Burgos, and Soria, you have to plan your day carefully and typically use two bases. Like the Rioja, you need to make reservations in order to visit a bodega. Dining in the Ribera is a bit more of a challenge than in the Rioja, but what's there is excellent if you happen to like lechazo (baby roast lamb), lamb chops, cochinillo (roast suckling pig), mollejas (sweetbreads) and chuletón (grilled t-bone steak).

Other excellent wine regions in Spain include the Priorat, Navarra and the upcoming El Bierzo wine region, which borders the Ribeira Sacra wine region of Galicia. All offer outstanding scenery, quaint villages and outstanding cuisine.

West of the Ribera del Douro is the Alto Douro wine region of Portugal. Like the Ribera, the Douro is spread out along the Douro River and requires several days to explore. Not something you can just hope over to and see in a day. You can visit the Port houses in Porto for some Port tasting without having reservations, but then you would miss out on seeing some of the fabulous Quintas, wine estates that line the Douro River Canyon, including the Sandeman estate and Quinta do Pego, which overlook the Douro River.

The Alentejo wine region, with its powerful reds, covers a vast area of large wine estates and needs a few days in order to visit even a few of the Adegas, such as Herdade do Esporão and Herdade da Malhadinha Nova.
iberiantraveler is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 11:48 AM
  #4  
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Thank you both so much for your information. At least now I have a jumping off point to start my trip research.

Iberiantraveler, you asked my budget for lodging. We prefer to stay in luxury class hotels and inns.
judyjayp is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 12:41 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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There are good choices in all of the listed wine regions.
iberiantraveler is offline  
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