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The so-called Wine Tours (Rutas de Vino) are a phenomenon which is attracting more and more often a greater amount of followers. Wine, art and culture are becoming the main ingredients of a new tourist formula: the oenoturism. It consists on a tour which includes all the steps in the process, from the harvest of grapes until the later wine tasting, in an extraordinary setting with guided tours to monasteries, medieval settlements and other places of interest. Moreover, these routes are designed in collaboration with local accommodations and restaurants which offer the opportunity to enjoy the local gastronomy. More on wine culture tasting.
A wine par excellence in Spain is the acclaimed Rioja. The visit to the monasteries of Suso and Yuso, the birthplace of the Castilian language, is the starting point of this tour. Then, you can drop by the small town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a meeting-point for pilgrims on the Road to Santiago. And finally, the short trip into one of the various traditional bodegas in the area is taken for granted. El Fabulista, one of the largest and best preserved underground warehouses in Laguardia, is a great option. There the wine is produced using traditional methods. Another option is Ysios, a modern bodega built by the architect Santiago Calatrava.
Other unavoidable tour for those fond of wine includes the area of the Ribera del Duero, imbued with vine-growing art and history. The tour can be started in the area of Burgos, through two traditional bodegas, Viña Mambrilla and Pérez Pascuas, in Pedrosa del Duero. In the restaurants of the region, you cannot miss the typical roast suckling lamb cooked in a wood-fired oven. There is also the possibility of making an alternative tour along the banks of the Duero (Ribera del Duero) in Valladolid and arriving at the castle of Peñafiel or at the Wine Museum. If you want to improve knowledge, you can go to the Bodega Matarromera, which has planned introductory courses on wine tasting.
The last proposal for wine lovers is in the Toro Designation of Origin. The tradition of these wines dates back to some time before the settlements of the Romans. In the Middle Ages, they even enjoyed royal privileges. The company ToVino (www.tovino.net) offers visitors a wide range of activities, among which you can find guided tours of a hundred-year-old bodegas and vineyards, cheese tasting in dairies where the sheep cheese is produced using traditional methods, and tasting of Crianza and Reserva wines. As regards culture, there is a wide range of possibilities, including the Monastery of Santa Sofía, the medieval village of Ureña, and the Mozarabic church of San Cebrián de Mazote. You cannot forget the obliged meeting: a walk around the town of Toro, its collegiate church and its sacred art museum of San Salvador; and while you’re there, wet your whistle with a good wine in any establishment of the old part of town.