Vol. 2 No. 10 Ribero del Duero to Rías Baixis

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Spanish love ‘x’s. In  the Basque country ‘x’ is pronounced ‘ch’. Okay why don’t they just call their delicious white wine Chocoli instead of Txocoli? …and why isn’t Rías Baixis spelled like it is pronounced? Ree-us Bay-shus? Again, dunno. What TB does know is he has had some wonderful wines on the trip so far and the trip isn’t even one-third over!

Every wine we have had has been at the least very nice. We have had Ribero del Duero Tinto (red), and a fine white from Pesqúera, some fine Toro Tinta’s (red), lovely Rueda’s (don’t buy unless it says Verdejo on the label). Lastly, a great white, Albariño, that is one of favorite whites and propels seafood to another level.

If you go into a restaurant you will not see the name wineries on the list (except perhaps their cheapest red). But all are priced in the range of 12-18 Euro’s, and worth it and more. You have to go to a bodega or wine shop for the best names yet most can be found in the 20-25 Euro range (currently about $1.15).

We drove in fog and rain mostly, from Valbuena in Ribero to a small fishing village called Camariñas on one of the many small peninsula’s on Spain’s ‘death coast’, so named for the many shipwrecks caused by rounding the corner too soon. The inn was called Rustica and was built in 1713. The owner has restored the inn beautifully and it has just seven gorgeous rooms. It took three years and I have no idea how many Euros to rebuild it from near rubble. We used this as a base to explore and despite the light rain (heavier at night,thankfully), we drove down to Finisterra (Lands End), and saw the end of ‘camino’ at what was then thought to be the end of the earth. While it is the westernmost point in Spain it is beaten as the westernmost in Europe by the southwestern corner of Portugal, which we visited years ago.

On Sunday (appropriately) we drove to Santiago de Compostella and arrived just before the mass began in the beautiful cathedral. It is mobbed, unlike any other I have been in in Europe. After walking among the pilgrims who just completed walking ‘the Camino’ from St. Jean-Pied-a-Port, we drove to Pontevedre and had a great lunch outside a little restaurant on one of the little squares that dot the city. It was fun  and being a Sunday, families were everywhere and the little kids held sway. From there we drove to our 1729 inn in de Cobres, near Villaboa. It is charming and is our second day here. We visited several Pazo’s (a Galician term for a large farm house where wine is made).

Tomorrow we will drive to Portugal to visit the beautiful and grand, Douro River valley, much more impressive than the tiny Duero that meanders through Spain before carving a huge swath across Portugal and the source of Port, Dâo, and  Vino Verde (which is made from the same Albariño grape  here it is called Albarinho or Vino Verde, but not the same quality.

If you think you know Spanish, it is probably Mexican Spanish and while helpful, won’t get you much farther than English will.But fret not, the Galicians, like the rest of Spain will make you feel comfortable.and make you feel good about yourself.

Next post will be from Portugal!


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