Wine Culture in Ribera del Duero and Rueda
If you want to do a very cool tour to know the wine culture in Ribera del Duero and Rueda in Valladolid, the following recommendations are not the only things worth visiting or possibly even the best, but they are our favorites.
Here are the places we always take our friends and family when they come to visit us. These are our recommendations for visiting Valladolid.
Ribera del Duero Wines
It’s a must do in our area to visit the vineyards, wineries, and enjoy the gastronomy of the area known as Ribera Del Duero.
What to do in Peñafiel
Every time someone comes from out of town to visit us in Valladolid, we always have our favorite places in mind to show them.
One of the highlights is Peñafiel. You can explore the town in a single day that will include visiting Protos (one of the most important wineries of the region), enjoy a delicious Castilian ‘Lechazo’ (suckling lamb; the region’s specialty), go up the castle on the hill to get great views of the town, and a visit the wine museum.
Visit the Protos Winery
The guided tour of the winery is one of our favorites, and it is something we always take our guests to no matter what.
There, they will show you how they create their fantastic wines including a wine tasting at the end of the tour. You can pick up a modestly priced bottle of theirs in the tasting room. The guided tour lasts for an hour and a half including the tasting. It costs 10€, and comes with a small gift at the end which we will keep secret to not ruin the surpise…;)
If you want to visit and take the tour, you must make a reservation. Here is the contact info: Bodegas Protos
Here’s a practical tip: even if you go in the summer, take a jacket. During the tour the temperature in the wine cellars are a cool 14 degrees Celsius, so bringing a light sweater might be a good idea…
Wine Museum in Peñafiel
Right above Protos you will see the 10th century Castle of Peñafiel- where the Wine Museum is located. It’s on the highest part of the town offering spectacular views. It’s an excellent way to complete a cultural tour.
What to see in Peñafiel
Either before or after all of that (↑), we always like to take our guests for a stroll though the town, have a nice glass of wine, and show them the Plaza del Coso-a medieval bull ring. It’s one of the oldest ‘plaza de toros’ in all of Spain which is surprising because it has been conserved so well. It is beautiful especially with the view of the hilltop castle towering behind it.
If you are visiting Peñafiel during the Celebration of Our Lady and Saint Roque, held between the 14th and the 18th of August, you can enjoy bull related festivities including a running of the bulls through the urban area.
To have a coffee after lunch or for a place to stay-we recommend Hotel – Convento Las Claras. The coffee will taste like heaven simply because of the ambience…
The day wouldn’t be the same without a wonderful meal, and when you are in great company-you can never go wrong. We always wrap up our visit to Peñafiel sitting down to eat in El Molino de Palacios– an old mill that has been converted into a restaurant sitting at the river’s edge. You can order a typical Castilian salad and some stewed meat that will have you licking your fingers. Everything accompanied with a phenomenal wine from the very same Ribera del Duero region, of course.
We love how they prepare the ox tail and roasted chicken, but don’t miss out on the quarter ‘lechazo’ to get a taste of the real Castile. For those of you who don’t know what ‘lechazo’ is, it’s a small suckling lamb whose meat is incredibly tender. It may sound a little strange when explaining what it is, but you just have to try it for yourself to see what the fuss is all about. If you want to order the ‘lechazo,’ it is recommended to call ahead to reserve.
What to see in Fuentidueña, near Peñafiel
If you intend to spend the night in the area, another recommendation is to visit Fuentidueña. It’s an enchanting village close to Peñafiel with the ruins of an ancient fort. This is a must see especially if you love medieval ruins.
If you want treat yourself to a once in a lifetime experience and sleep in an ancient church, you can do that in Fuentidueña. El Palacio de los Condes is a church that has been renovated and converted into a royal lodge. There you can spend the night and/or have a meal in the refurbished chapel. Reservation required.
We spent a weekend there and a slept in the part of the church that had the rose window. Believe me, the feeling of waking up in the morning with the sunlight coming in through the stained glass is an incredible feeling that we highly recommend 😉
Another regional winery that we love to visit is Yllera. This one is located in the Rueda wine region. In this region, practically all of the houses had a wine cellar excavated underneath where the wine was produced and stored. On this tour and tasting, which they call the ‘Hilo de Ariadna’, you go on a route visiting the different cellars while hearing the story of the mythical minotaur and learning about the ancient customs and techniques of wine making in the past.
Aside from getting to know the distinct wines in the cellars, you can have lunch there, with a reservation of course. You eat in style and everything is homemade: the ribs and potatoes are incredible along with house stews from the daily menu. Not to mention the ‘lechazo’ ribs which will have you licking your fingers.
We love visiting this place, so there was no way we could leave it out of our recommendations for this area, elhilodeariadna.es
Other wineries in Valladolid
Arzuaga and Abadia Retuerta
Located on the road to Soria, between Tudela de Duero and Peñafiel, you will find another two wineries of excellent quality.
A stop in La Abadia Retuerta and Arzuaga are two locations we’ve visited on occasion and are worth mentioning. Both are also hotels where you can spend the night, and they are both located right off of the main highway about half an hour from Valladolid and 20 minutes from Peñafiel. If you are looking for a relaxing and luxurious weekend getaway, these two wineries are what you are looking for. Both are very close to one another.
Abadia Retuerta is not in the Ribera del Duero region. This winery is part of the Novartis group who recently finished renovations of the abbey and converted it into an incredible boutique hotel. The price is also incredible. The tour used to be priced at 10€ before the renovations, now it costs 30€, but it’s still worth a visit.
In Arzuaga you can have a wonderful meal on the terrace and with its great ambiance. A visit to the spa is a small luxury with its artisan glass cases facing the vineyards while you relax in the pool. This would be a perfect gift for anyone 😉
And if we were to recommend a spa in this area, in our opinion, without a doubt the best one is in Olmedo, Castilla Termal Balneario. This is a 4 star hotel that often offers special spa packages for its guests. The spa area has unrestricted access but it is never overwhelmed with people. A truly pleasant experience. In fact, if you go with kids, the entire family can access the spa. Right in front there is the small theme park about the Mudejar architectural style just for the little ones.
Actually we know the opening a new hotel 5* Castilla Termal in Valbuena de Duero, possibly the best thermal hotel in Castilla y Leon. We have to test it!!
Where to eat in Ribera del Duero
We spoke earlier about the ‘lechazo’ and the traditional way of cooking it in this region, but another way of preparing it is on skewers of wood from the vineyards the way they do it at Meson Asador Carlos in Traspinedo. You will never forget them if you venture out to experience them.
Traspinedo is a village that you can find on the way to Peñafiel. If you are going Arzuaga or La Abadia Retuerta, a stop in Meson Asador Carlos is almost obligatory. Some skewers of ‘lechazo,’ a salad, and a pine nut cake for dessert-IMPRESSIVE with capital letters. You let us know if you swing by.
This is our favorite place even though there are some people that say other restaurants make it even better, but in our opinion-it’s the best.
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