Vino on the Camino! posted: 2017-05-10 08:54:00
If, like us you enjoy a glass of wine you’ll not be out of your comfort zone along the Camino de Santiago. There is a multitude of vineyards along the route and it is possible to take day trips to some of the worlds’ best known and oldest winemakers to taste something a little more authentic that you’ll find in your local supermarket or off license. We’ve chosen our top 5 to give you a taste of what the Camino de Santiago has to offer….. Salud!
Txakoli (pronounced Chacolí)
It is a very old wine which comes from across the north of Spain, in particular the Basque region where it in ingrained in their culture. It is usually a white wine but can come in red or rose, although rare. Typically, the white wine is a pale yellow or green color. White Txakoli is very dry and lightly sparkling with acidity, it is low in alcohol. It is usually drank as a young wine (one year or less from bottling date) and normally served as an aperitif, of course being served in the Basque country one should enjoy with pintxos. Some of the most common variations of Txakoli in the Vasque region include: Txakoli from Getaria, Txakoli from Biscay, Txakoli from Alava and Chacolí from Cantabria. Each type of Txakoli will vary slightly in its acidity and color.
Like many wines, Tempranillo wine has a mixed history. There are myths invloving monks, theories that the was American influence, and even ties to the Roman god of wine. Whatever the history, this grape variety is blended with almost every red wine that comes from the Spain and Portugal. It is grown in Castile and León and other regions across north and north-west Spain. Tempranillo grapes are not naturally very acidic this is why they blend very well with other varieties. This wine can be characterized as a medium- to full-bodied wine with red fruit characteristics. Tempranillo translated literally means "little early one" this name was given to it by Spanish wine makers who noticed it ripening earlier than other grape varieties. This wine would go lovely with an tomato-sauce based dish. Also, you should try it with any dish that features corn as a major ingredient.
Albariño is grown in Galicia and north-west Portugal. It is a white wine grape noted for a distinctive botanical aroma which is similar to that of Viognier or Gewurztraminer, therefore suggesting apricot and peach flavours. The wine has also be frequently considered a sister wine of Riesling. The wine produced from this grape is particularly light and generally high in acidity and with alcohol levels of 11.5–12.5%. Its thick skin and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness. Spain produces Albariño to a significant degree in the Rías Baixas, denominación de Origen which means you’ll pass through her along the Portuguese coastal route (Pontevedra). When you are sampling this wine, try pairing it with the local seafood dishes.
Made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava, which is a region you’ll pass through along the French Way. A distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging and the pronounced vanilla flavors which is essentially a trademark of the region. Nowadays modern winemakers are experimenting with making wines less influenced by oak which is contributing to a wider variety of flavors from Rioja. Reds (or tintos) are classified into 4 categories, as shown below.
- Rioja - the youngest. Spends less than a year in an oak aging barrel.
- Crianza - aged for at least two years. One of which was in oak.
- Rioja Reserva - aged for at least three years. One of which is in oak.
- Rioja Gran Reserva – aged for at least two years in oak and three in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva vinos are not necessarily produced every year.
When trying the reds, you should order a lamb dish. The tenderness of the meat, mixed with the aroma of the wine will make for a wonderful meal. If you are trying the white variety of Rioja, try little menu items, like white fish or salads.
Usually characterized by fresh fruity notes, smooth tannins and a notable reflection of the mineral environment in which it is grown. Bierzo is a rural and remote ancient region in the north-western corner of Spain, or Castilla y León which until recently was one of Spain’s best kept secrets. Now, with much investment and innovation El Bierzo wine counts as one of the countrys’ up and coming stars within the wine industry. You will pass through this region along the Via de la Plata and the French Way as you near Santiago de Compostela.
Wine is as commons as water along the Camino so if you enjoy a sip make sure you do indulge while our on your Camino journey. Need we say that you'll be walking long days and sometimes in the sun so ensure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated, last thing you want is to face 25kms the following day with a hangover.
All that being said, we recommend the best accompaniment for any wine is the company you share it with. So, we suggest that after a long day's walking on the Camino de Santiago you sit back and relax with a bottle of the local finest in the company of a good friend or another pilgrim that you've met along the way. Exchange stories, ideas and lessons. Listen, open up, get it off your chest and come back from your Camino experience after having experienced all the wonderful joys of the Camino both tangible and intangible.
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