When it comes to producing wine, there’s plenty of friendly rivalry that goes on between the different regions. The Duero Valley wine region in northern Spain has got plenty to say on the matter, and with its bountiful crop of beautiful Tempranillo grapes it’s well worth listening in.
The mighty Duero River winds its way through the rocky outcrops of the elevated plateaus of the Iberian Peninsular, giving life to the multitude of vines that criss-cross the land. Winemaking has been a way of life here for over 2,000 years; a huge Roman mosaic depicting Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine, was discovered here during one of the grape harvists and can be seen in the small town of Baños de Valdearados.
With more than 300 wineries spread across the region, there’s no chance of going thirsty. Each and every winemaker is immensely proud of their product and have their own secrets as to what makes their wine so special. If you’re lucky, they may divulge one or two as you savour a glass of full-bodied, complex Gran Reserva.
There’s no denying the mighty grape is the beating heart of Riberia del Duero, but be sure to go exploring beyond the vineyards. Spanning four provinces, the area is rich in culture, with several magnificent castles to discover, such as the Peñaranda de Duero in Burgos and the Peñafiel in Valladolid. There are also plenty of historic villages with pretty churches and squares and keep an eye out for the zaceras, stone domes that pop out of the ground and extend deep underground, which are dotted across the region. You won’t be surprised to learn that they were once used to store wine.
When to go
From April to September the leaves of the vineyards transform from green to oranges. September is the harvest so a good time to visit.