The Ribera del Duero is one of the most important wine regions in the world, and is the main producing region in Castilla y Leon in northern Spain. The country’s noble grape, Tempranillo, thrives here, and wine enthusiasts will be blown away by the amazing tours and tastings. But with its spectacular vineyard backdrop, stunning landscape and peaceful Duero River, this corner of the globe is a destination for every type of traveller, not just wine lovers.
Charming towns and quaint villages are dotted along this wine route. And beautiful architecture, old cobbled streets and magnificent medieval castles can be found everywhere you turn. This area of Spain cares a lot of about tradition and history – and this is evident in their unique way of life, the traditional methods they use to produce wine, and the way they hold onto ancient recipes. Food is another draw for many holidaymakers in search of undiscovered luxury. Ribera del Duero is a cornucopia of pleasures when it comes to culinary experiences. Quality lamb and pork are staples that are always perfectly paired, and you’ll find their hearty stews and local cheeses to be utterly indulgent. What’s more is the friendly hospitality of the local people. They welcome tourists from all around, so every meal will be made with total authenticity and passion.
With over 2,400 hours of sunshine per year and excellent weather for outdoor pursuits, Ribera del Duero is the ultimate luxury holiday destination for those who dream of escaping the busy cities.
The vast Ribera del Duero is spread across four different Spanish provinces. This gives visitors the rare opportunity to discover the culture, the unique food, and the quality wines in each location. Venture along the banks the River Duero and you’ll get to know the Soria, Burgos, Segovia and Valladolid areas. There are so many historic villages that are worth visiting, including Peñaranda de Duero in the Burgos province. The village is conserved as a ‘conjunto históric’ and is home to the striking Castle of Peñaranda de Duero, a well-preserved gothic fortress with a winery inside.
If you’re interested in hunting down the region’s best castles, let us arrange an exciting castle tour in Ribera del Duero and Navarra. Beautiful villages like Olite and Laguardia can be included in these tours, and we can customize all tours to suit you. Another village that has its own fort is Peñafiel, and here you can also check out its main square that often hosts festivals and traditional bullfights.
Anyone who visits Peñafiel or Pequera del Duero will also be able to see the zarceras, ancient stone domes that shoot out of the ground. These go deep underground and were once places to store wine. Anywhere you go in this region, you will be able to find excellent bodegas (wine cellars). And some of the top wineries to visit during your time here are Protos or Portia, both with remarkable Vanguard architecture.
The Ribera del Duero is a great summer destination with moderate to low rainfall, but it is also exposed to extreme climatic conditions. Hard winters mean that temperatures can come close to freezing, while the summer months can be as hot as 40°C (104°F). Summers tend to be long and dry, with long sunlight hours throughout. If you want to avoid the intense heat in July, August and September, plan your journey in the spring and fall. Both of these seasons are often milder, but avoid the winter if you don’t wish to experience the extreme cold.
This incredible wine region only officially became a Denominacíon de Origen (D.O.) in 1982, but the practice of winemaking dates back more than 2,000 years. Ribera del Duero wine production has roots as far back as the Roman era, and this is evidenced by the huge mosaic of Bacchus at Baños de Valdearados. In the height of the Spanish Empire, local wines were a major export. Vega Sicilia (made from Cabernet and Tempranillo grapes) was then founded and has been drawing attention to the region ever since.
While many wineries have modernized, traditional wine-making methods are still respected, and quality remains as high. Many of the wines here are 100% Tempranillo, with robust acidity and a lovely fruity concentration that’s also fresh on the palate. Other wines may have Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec in their blends, but the Tempranillo grape clearly rules the roost. However, the variety in wine styles is huge, and this has happened due to varying altitude and the 30 types of soil in the region.
Garnacha is used for most rosé wines in the region, while Albillo is the only white grape with vines planted in Ribera del Duero.
In the beautiful Ribera del Duero, you’ll find hotels of a different breed. Away from the hustle and bustle of Spain’s main cities, this region is all about rolling landscapes and acres and acres of land. From castle hotels and winery hotels to exclusive 5-star spa resorts that feel off the beaten track, there are so many options for those who want luxury travel. There are quaint villages in every province, and we can help you book the perfect place to stay in Soria, Burgos, Segovia or Valladolid. We hand select the best hotels and private properties and can get exclusive access to some of the top vineyards around.
Gastronomy is one of the biggest attractions in Ribera del Duero. Stretching along the Duero River across four provinces, guests will be able to enjoy the most exciting food tours that take in distinctive flavours from each locality.
Many of the restaurants are wonderfully traditional. Expect traditional stone, charming décor and rustic surroundings. Combined with elegant menus that savour classical cooking styles, guests can enjoy the most authentic dining experiences. Even venues with contemporary interiors respect tradition, providing guests with eye-opening gastronomy on their holiday.
If you’re looking for the best mix of traditional and modern, book a table at Castilla Termal Monasterio Valbuena Converso, an exclusive à-la-carte restaurant by Valladolid.
Wine Paths creates customized travel to Ribera del Duero for luxury seekers, foodies and wine enthusiasts. Find out more from our local expert Carmen.