From north to south, east to west, the sun-kissed wine routes of Spain cover the length and breadth of the Iberian countryside. Here, Elite Traveler brings you five of the most spectacular routes – to access the best vineyards and, of course, the finest wines
Rioja Alta Wine Route
The Rioja Alta Wine Route lies in one of Spain’s finest wine-producing havens, where much on the country’s wine culture was developed and where some of the most prestigious wines now originate. beyond the barrels, rioja alta also boasts a rich artistic heritage set down on the banks of the ebre river amidst the Toloño, Cantabria, and Demanda mountains, where the unrivaled hospitality of la Rioja’s towns and their people combine to create the ideal Iberian escape. Rioja Alta Wine route: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rutasdelvinorioja.com/en/
Located in the northwest of La Rioja, a short way from Logroño, Rioja Alta can be accessed by highway—the n–232 and the a–68—as well as by train from the Haro station and plane via the Logroño airport.
Top Sleeps along the Rioja Alta Wine route, there is a bounty of accomodations available, from hotels and apartments to charming cottages and cozy inns, all of which offer the perfect opportunity to gather around a table—such as those at Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada—and enjoy good conversation and a glass of Rioja wine with old and new friends alike. Plaza del Santo, 3, 26250 Santo Domingo de la Calzada; www.parador.es
Top Eats The magnificent restaurants, taverns, and steakhouses of La Rioja Alta invite travelers to sample Rioja’s freshly harvested vegetables, traditional stews, and world-famous sarmiento baked chops. For a truly authentic experience, make sure to try Rioja-style cod and potatoes, “piquillo” peppers stuffed with meat, and the region’s renowned “pochas riojanas” (haricot beans).
Activities & Excursions – Rioja Alta offers a variety guided pathways that traverse the whole of the territory. a stroll along these tranquil thoroughfares is the perfect way to get to know the region’s fantastic natural beauty, from the rolling vine fields to the sierra del Toloño mountains.
Festivals – each year, Rioja Alta’s quaint towns alight with festivals, including hundreds of patron saints’ celebrations and “romerías”, for instance the Romería of the Hermitage of Davalillo, held in San Asensio on the first Sunday after Resurrection Sunday. Also held in San Asensio in late July, the Battle of Claret encourages locals and visitors alike to engage in an good-natured mock-dispute during which 30,000 liters of wine are splashed about town, soaking anyone who happens to be passing by.