The night we arrived, it rained in the province of Burgos. The next day was cold and the roads were rather slick. It was really cold and I am from Nevada! We were to meet César today. We drove from Tortoles where we were staying to Olmedillo de Roa. Our entire trip to Spain was to come to this place. Olmedillo is a small village. If you are not paying attention you could drive right through it and miss it. It is anchored by an impressive church and there are vineyards all around it emphasizing the point that this is a good place for vines!
“We are a modest winery”, César said. There was no sign on the building that said this was a winery. It was certainly modest from the outside.
But inside, it was well organized with fermentation tanks, oak barrels stacked up and bottles docked in wire crates. César gave us a presentation of their winery. His pride in this place was very evident.I wanted to see the vineyards. Problem was that it was very cold and the rain overnight had made the roads to the vineyards quite muddy and not very driveable. We had come all the way and I was afraid that we may not be able to see the vineyard itself. Call me a romantic but I wanted to see the plants from whence the wine came! I guess the disappointment was too transparent on my face. José Luis said that we can probably make the drive. This was going to be a good day. It was a good day..just really really cold!
2 days. Thats how long it takes jet lag to wear off.
2hours. Thats what it took to drive from Madrid to Ribera del Duero.
If you are one who loves Spanish wines, you probably know about this place. If not, no worries. We can fix that.
If Spain is a square piece of paper (When we talk more about Spain and Spanish wines, we will keep returning to this square), Madrid is at the center of this square.
The Ribera del Duero (RdD)is a swath of land 2 hours north of Madrid, running East to West along the river Duero.
On the eastern end are the towns of Soria and Aranda de Duero and the western end is the old Spanish capital, Valladolid. Penafiel with it’s majestic castle is in the middle of this winding ribbon of land.
It is a long valley and the terrain for most part is harsh. I remarked to somebody once that “Grapes are like people. If they live an easy life, they have no personality. It’s the ones that struggle and suffer that make interesting wines.” And the vines suffer here. More on that later.
The wines of RdD varies quite a bit across this valley, all delicious but slightly different depending on which part of the valley it’s grown and the kinds of soil etc. But the common element is the grape. Tempranillo is king here!