Ribera del Duero Map and Guide
Hearty Wines, Deep Cellars, and Wood Oven Roasts
The Ribera del Duero is a wine-producing region in Castilla y Leon, the largest region in Spain (see a map of Spain's Regions). As you can see from the map below, The wine region is sandwiched between some compelling cities to visit: Burgos, Soria (and the nearby archaeology of Numantia), Segovia, and Valladolid.
Why Vacation in Ribera del Duero?
Although some top wines are produced in this region, that's not all there is to see. Great food comes with great wine, and the hearty cuisine of Castilla-Leon, with its stews and traditional roasts cooked in a horno asador might just awaken the carnivore in you.
Ribera del Duero lies on an elevated plateau at a height of 2800ft (800m) above sea level. It's hot during the growing season but the nights are cool. It's also quite dry; difficult conditions that make some great wines.
The Denominación de Origen (D.O.) of Ribera del Duero was founded on July 21, 1982 and encompases the area along the Duero river and its tributaries roughly between San Estaban di Gormaz in the east and a point just east of Valladoid. The map above shows the major cities of Ribera del Deuro.
Today, over 100 vineyards or bodegas cultivate a variety of grapes (although mostly tempranillo for the reds) throughout in the Ribera del Duero.
Wine making in this region has been going on since at least the Roman Era, as evidenced by a floor mosaic in the village of Baños de Valdearados (shown on the map) showing two scenes: the courtship of the god Bacchus and his victorious return from India on a carriage pulled by panthers. These have been recently removed by vandals.
Cistercians as well as Benedictines from Cluny (Burgundy) arrived in the medieval period to revive wine making in the Ribera del Duero.
In the 13th century, underground cellars were built with distinctive chimneys seeming to rise out of the rock. You can see these near the castle at Penafiel as well as in Aranda de Duero
Wine Enthusiast Magazine feted Ribera del Duero as the Wine Region of the Year 2012 Award in the magazine's annual Wine Star Awards.
Cities to Visit in the Ribera del Duero
Penafiel is a great place to stay. The 11th century Castle Peñafiel is 210 meters long and only 35 meters wide. It's outline resembles a ship from above. Penafiel is on the Coria - Salamanca - Soria - Zaragoza - Barcelona Train Line. There are buses from Madrid, Valladolid, and Aranda.
Aranda de Duero is the capital of Ribera del Duero, and you can see the underground cellers, up to 40 food deep in some paces. Other sites include:
- 15th to 16th-century, Isabelline-Gothic church of Santa María la Real
- The Gothic church of San Juan Bautista, site of the Aranda Council (1473). Next to it is the Romanesque bridge.
- The 15th century Palace of Verdugo
- On the outskirts: The 17th century sanctuary of the Virgin of Viñas (the town's saint, said to have been found in a vineyard)
- Train and pottery museums
(Recommended place to stay on the outskirts Hotel Milagros Río Riaza - Milagros, Aranda de Duero (book direct)) El Lagar de Isilla is inside a 15th century wine cave at Isilla, 18, Aranda del Duero.
Roa is the seat of the Regulatory Council for the Designation of Origin (D.O.) Ribera del Duero wine region. A Roman bridge spans the river. Roa's food specialty is "Lechazo de Castilla y León", roast baby lamb, especially good at Asados Nazareno. Recommended hotel: Hotel Vadorrey (with restaurant) in the center of town.
Bodegas: Winery Contact Information
RiberaDuero.net mantains a list of bodegas with contact information for visiting.
Ribera del Duero Video
Get an idea of what the region looks like in this About.com travel tip video: Profile of the Ribera del Duero.
Just outside of Ribera del Duero
Numantia is probably the most important Spanish archaeological site you've never heard of, a fascinating ancient city with both Roman and Celtic occupations. The nearby town of Soria is worth a visit, too.
Segovia and its 2000 year old Roman aqueduct is one of my favorite places in Spain--and it's close to Madrid.
Burgos (Pictures) is the historic capital of Castile. The 11th century cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city has a medieval center inside the city walls. There are museums dedicated to the province, the history of books, and human evolution.