8 vineyards in Spain that are a breathtaking sight
Travel with Peñín through some of the country's most unique wine-growing landscapes
Now that the pandemic is preventing us from travelling freely and we dream of being able to visit some of the most beautiful places in Spain, we bring you these landscapes at the click of a button. There is no need to go abroad, in our country we can enjoy some of the most spectacular vineyards in the world. Some are unique because of their impossible terrain, others because they have thrived amidst beautiful geographical features such as rivers, valleys and mountains; others simply grow in unusual types of soil and give us images of exceptional colour. Come with us, you won't regret it.
1. Ribeira Sacra
Our journey begins in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Located between the south of the province of Lugo and the northeast of the province of Ourense, we find the Ribeira Sacra. Its vineyards cover the slopes of the Miño and Sil rivers in terraces strewn with schist, giving us a unique picture of mountains covered with vines, among which the white varieties dona branca, godello and treixadura predominate, or the red varieties mencía and bastardo.
Very close to the previous one and also irrigated by the river Sil, Valdeorras is an appellation of origin of mostly mountainous landscapes, whose vineyards grow on slate and granite soils, often forming picturesque terraces. Valdeorras is the birthplace of great white wines, capable of withstanding the test of time. Now you know that in Valdeorras not only the wines are a delight, but also the landscape.
3. Bizkaiko Txakolina
Bikzaiko Txakolina is one of the three Txakolí producing areas in the Basque Country. Most of the most spectacular vineyards are located on low slopes near the Cantabrian coast, cultivated on trellises to avoid problems with humidity. The lush surroundings, the sea and the local mountains make the vineyards in this part of Spain a dreamlike sight. The three main grape varieties found in these vineyards are hondarrabi zuri, hondarrabi zuri zerratia and hondarrabi beltza.
Located in the province of Tarragona, Priorat vineyards are located in a mountainous area with steep slopes, where it is very common to cultivate in terraces and hillsides. This landscape is characterised by the presence of a reddish and black slate soil known as "licorella". The vines are predominantly carignan and red grenache for reds, and white grenache and macabeo for whites. The place is not suitable for people with vertigo. Many of its vineyards are a real challenge for the manual traditional viticulture. Some wine-growing landscapes are awe-inspiring and this is certainly one of them.
5. Sierras de Málaga
Sierras de Málaga is located in the inland part of the province of Malaga and is divided into several sub-areas, among which the Axarquía and the Serranía de Ronda stand out. Both are characterised by a complex terrain with steep slopes that make access by machinery impossible, so harvesting is carried out manually. The soils vary from Mediterranean reds with limestone components in the northern part to decomposing slate in steeper areas such as the Axarquía. Among the white varieties, Pedro Ximénez and Muscatel predominate, but there are also many foreign varieties such as chardonnay, gewürtztraminer and riesling. As for the reds, we find romé, cabernet franc and garnacha tinta, among others.
Sherry would not be sherry without the beautiful sight of vineyards on a whitish soil that can sometimes look like snow. This characteristic soil is called albariza, and takes its colour from the high levels of limestone that cover the hills of the appellation. This type of soil favours the maintenance of temperature and humidity to achieve the microclimate necessary for these unique wines. Here the queen varieties are white, especially palomino.
We travel to Spain's southernmost wine-growing region, the Canary Islands. There, on the island of Lanzarote, we find one of the most unique vineyard landscapes in the world. Set on a large expanse of volcanic rocks (known as "picón") as a result of the eruption of the Timanfaya volcano in the 18th century. The vineyards in the area of La Geria are cultivated in pits dug out of this volcanic soil. This system, apart from being truly spectacular, allows the plant to make the most of the water from the dew or the very little rainfall that occurs each year, while at the same time protecting it from the trade winds, leaving us with a picture that looks like something out of another planet. The main white grape is malvasía, although we can also find pedro ximénez, diego and listán blanco, among others. The red grapes are mainly listán negra and negramoll.
8. La Palma
Our last destination is not far from the previous one: the island of La Palma. Despite its small size area (just over 700 square kilometres) it is divided into three production sub-areas: the Hoyo de Mazo sub-area, the northern sub-area and the Fuencaliente sub-area. In the first, the vineyards are located above 1,100 m.a.s.l, with very steep slopes. The fertile soil is under a thick layer of stone which retains moisture and prevents the growth of weeds. The varieties that are usually grown at this altitude are: albillo criollo, listán blanco de canarias, listán Prieto, among others. The northern sub-zone presents a landscape of vineyards among pine forests, steep slopes and vines that defy gravity at an altitude of over 1,000 metres. Finally, Fuencaliente presents a traditional vineyard cultivation of creeping vines, on poor volcanic soils, where the fertile soil layer can be found at a depth of several metres.
Hoyo de Mazo sub-area