From Wi­ne to Wi­ne


Excelencias Turísticas del caribe y las Américas - - Historia / History -

It is well known that traip­sing down any of the routes that lead to the tomb of Apostle San­tia­go is an in­fi­ni­te experience every step of the way. For many, it stands for a jour­ney mar­ked by spi­ri­tua­lity; for ot­hers, it is a hu­ge phy­si­cal cha­llen­ge. Eit­her way, the rou­te of­fers an un­bea­ta­ble op­por­tu­nity to carry –to­get­her with the es­sen­tial vic­tuals and the beauty of the lands­ca­pes- the his­tory and vast tra­di­tions of te­rri­to­ries whe­re good ea­ting and drin­king are al­most man­da­tory.

From the sa­me starting point, tho­se who ven­tu­re out to walk down the rou­te to the myt­hi­cal Cat­he­dral of San­tia­go de Com­pos­te­la will be ex­po­sed to the tem­pta­tion that in­vol­ves cros­sing ex­ten­si­ve vi­ne­yards, birth­pla­ces for cen­tu­ries of so­me of the world's fi­nest wi­nes.

From the very dis­co­very of the re­lics of the Apostle, the first pil­grims be­ca­me res­pon­si­ble, to a cer­tain ex­tent, for such enolo­gi­cal rich­ness. Many from every nook and cranny of the globe brought with them strains of gra­pes that in ti­me ha­ve fa­vo­red the great va­riety of wi­nes found along the jour­ney, eit­her by hit­ting the North Road, the Pri­mi­ti­ve Way, the Win­ter Path, the Sea or the Via de la Plata (Sil­ver Way).

Ho­we­ver, no­ne of the­se routes would bring as much joy to good wi­ne lo­vers as the French Way. The pas­sa­ge th­rough te­rri­to­ries with mar­ked cli­ma­tic dif­fe­ren­ces, such as Ara­gon, Na­va­rra, La Rio­ja, Cas­ti­le and Leon or Ga­li­cia, gi­ves the op­por­tu­nity to tas­te se­ve­ral wi­nes worthy of an Ap­pe­lla­tion of Ori­gin (AO), ca­pa­ble of sa­tisf­ying the most de­man­ding pa­trons.

On­ce in Ja­ca –the end of a jour­ney that star­ted in St. PIed de Port, Ron­ces­va­lles or Som­port- the pil­grim will be able to tas­te the de­li­cious So­mon­tano, which means “at the foot of the moun­tain”. It is born in pri­vi­le­ged vi­ne­yards nestled right bet­ween the Ebro ri­ver va­lley and the Py­re­nees. What's mo­re, this is one of the mo­re than 70 AOs that cu­rrently exist in Spain.

In Na­va­rra, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to pass up the town of Aye­gui, whe­re in one of the walls of Bo­de­gas Ira­che, the fa­mous foun­tain pro­vi­des pil­grims with the chan­ce to quench their thirst with the wi­ne that co­mes out of one of the fau­cets.

The next des­ti­na­tion would be Lo­gro­ño, the ca­pi­tal of La Rio­ja and ho­me to nu­me­rous vi­ne­yards and em­ble­ma­tic wi­ne­ries that, to­get­her with tho­se of Prio­rat, in Ca­ta­lo­nia, ma­ke up the only two Qua­li­fied AOs –they must comply with stric­ter stan­dards- found in Spain.

The­re's no bet­ter way to con­ti­nue the ex­tra­or­di­nary experience than by co­ve­ring the sta­ges that run th­rough Cas­ti­le and Leon. Ri­be­ra del Due­ro has been lo­ca­ted the­re for mo­re than th­ree de­ca­des, an AO that co­vers the areas of So­ria, Burgos, Se­go­via and Va­lla­do­lid, and who­se num­ber of world-class wi­ne­ries has ne­ver stop­ped gro­wing. Not far from that re­gion, you can find ot­hers, such as Rue­da y To­ro, whi­le on the banks of the Sil ri­ver stands the fa­mous Bier­zo, with its Men­cia vi­nes, the main va­riety next to the Go­de­llo gra­pes.

In Ga­li­cia, each and every day trip un­til arri­ving at the Pla­za de Obradoiro is an in­vi­ta­tion to ce­le­bra­te the last road stret­ches with Ga­li­cian wi­nes, mainly the whi­tes ob­tai­ned from the Al­ba­ri­ño gra­pe.

From O Ce­brei­ro to the city of San­tia­go de Com­pos­te­la, pas­sing th­rough Pa­las de Rei and Ar­zúa, the­re are fi­ve AOs, and it would be sin­ful to ig­no­re any of them, such as the Ri­bei­ro, which is lo­ca­ted at the jun­ction of the va­lleys bat­hed by the Mi­ño, Avia, Ar­naia and Ber­ban­ti­ño ri­vers. Rías Bai­xas or Ri­bei­ra Sa­cra… well, that would be a de­lu­xe clo­se for the spi­rit, the body... and the mouth.

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