We traveled south on the A6 towards Madrid and stopped in Tordesillas and stayed at the same Parador we had lodged in on the way up to Galicia. This little town is centrally located among three wine regions, Toro, Rueda, and Ribera del Duero. The Parador is very comfortable and has all the services we need.
Today, we set out to the Ribera del Duero wine district, one of the oldest and most famous of the wine districts in Spain. The most easily accessible bodegas are located on what is known as the Spanish Golden Mile, Highway N-122. We headed from Tordesillas towards Valladolid and followed the signs toward Peñafiel, a small town about 40 minutes from Valladolid. All the wineries in this region require an appointment if you want to visit, tour or taste. Some have a fee while others do not. If the winery has a tienda (store) you can visit and buy wine without an appointment.
The vines look beautiful and are almost ready for harvest. The grape of the Ribera del Duero is Tinto Fino, a type of Tempranillo grape. The wine is lush and rich, a bit stronger than wines from La Rioja.
The first bodega we spot is Bodega Abadia Retuerta. This winery has recently received raved reviews from the wine critics for their outstanding lineup of wines. The tienda was open so we meandered in and browsed the shop. We purchased a bottle of the Rivola 2004 Crianza for 8 Euros. Interestingly, the wineries sell to anyone for about the same amount they sell to a distributor. The bodega is where to get the best deal on Spanish wine. We also decided to buy an Abadia Retuerta logo shirt for each of us.
Later, we explored the wine town of Peñafiel, and found it to be rather ordinary and not much to do with wine except for the wine museum. Unfortunately, we are there on a Monday, and that is the only day of the week the museum is closed.
We headed back and stopped at one of the larger bodegas in the Ribera Del Duero, the Arzuaga Navarro Winery. This bodega has a hotel and fancy restaurant. We stopped and had a delicious lunch along with a fantastic half bottle of Arzuaga 2004 Crianza. What a delicious wine.
Tomorrow it is off to Madrid to meet up with our friends who will be traveling with us in Spain for the next two weeks.