Off the Tourist Trail – Wine Tasting in Spain!

So the ironic thing is that beer and wine is generally cheaper than soft drinks in Spain. The government placed a sugar tax on fizzy drinks and juices, but no tax on alcohol – so I guess it would be rude not to!

Wine is the answer, who cares what the question is!

Quote found in a little wine store in Slovenia!

Bodega Protas, Penafiel

Protas in Penafiel is a large industrial vineyard and wine producer, opened in 1927 and located in the Ribera Del Duera region in Spain.

Protas means first in Greek, also termed Ser Primo locally. It is the oldest wine producer the area. It has the perfect soil and climate combination for vine production. A combination of clay and limestone soil with plenty of rain.

It’s an interesting place with a huge and impressive set up, but certainly not my favourite wine tasting of the tour. I think it was a little overpriced, it was more about the tour then the tasting. That said there wine was very nice and you get to keep your glass!

Personally I preferred the smaller, family run style places we visited.

Also some wine purchased locally in a little bar round the corner from Protas. Bargain at just over 2 Euro’s for a round including some complimentary tapas!

Bodega Vego Sauco, Toro, Zamora

Vego Sauco is a small and friendly family run bodega in Toro, Zamora. All of the wines tell a story. For example Tres Lunas, he has 3 daughters and his wife’s maiden name translated moon; so it represents his family.

A small tour here followed by a cosier wine tasting experience was much more enjoyable to me. Apparently Christopher Columbus took the Toro vines to South America. I generally love South American wines so tasted so its lovely to see some of where they come from!

Bodega Alma Roja, D.O. Arribes

Charlotte Allen’s winery in Fermoselle is an experience I highly recommend to anyone passing anywhere near the local area! Charlotte is an interesting and eccentric English lady from Rutland and fair to say she is one hell of a character! Her wine set up is run out of the local (now closed) disco! Disco ball and stage with palm trees painted behind still in tact!

There are more than 1200 wine cellars in the local area. Archeology indicates they are over 500 years old, though potentially closer to 2000 years old. The cellars are older than the houses so it is believed they might originally have been dwellings. Jews who ‘agreed’ to convert to Catholicism may have used them to practice Judaism underground. There are a lot of Jewish surnames in the local area.

The area has a lot of uneven terrain and granite which isn’t great for growing vines. However, as the rivers meet nearby it offers some protection. It’s also a beautiful area with plenty of walking opportunities nearby.

One of my favourite wines of the whole trip (and I tried a few!) was Pirita, which means fools gold. Its a delicious red with more vines than Chateauneuf du Pape! In fact Charlotte sells it to high end French restaurants. An English lady selling Spanish wine to the French..!

Bodega La Setera

La Setera – A lovely little winery run by another English lady Sarah. She’s just on the border to Portugal and we’d walked there from Fermoselle through the beautiful park along the river. Completely different in character to Charlotte, Sarah is very friendly and interesting to chat to. Born in Ireland and lived in Belgium and France prior to Spain.

I highly recommend the red La Setera, I really enjoyed the 2018 one! Sarah also makes some delicious goats cheese also available to buy.

As with almost everything else climate change is having a huge impact on the vines. With heavy rains and frost becoming more frequent and less predictable in terms of timings. Its impacting the volume and quality of the grapes. Also impacting on the timing of picking and producing. And as with everything else, in turn impacting costs for the producers which inevitably will be passed on.

Also moving with the times all of the bodega’s are producing, developing or investing in more organic and vegan wines.

A day without wine is like….. Just kidding, I have no idea

Enjoy and happy wine tasting!

3 thoughts on “Off the Tourist Trail – Wine Tasting in Spain!

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