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Exploring Spain

Spain is always at the top of my list of places to visit next, both as a wine destination and as one of the most fantastic places I’ve ever been. Unfortunately, I don’t have the endless resources necessary to explore Spain as I’d like to. The bills don’t pay themselves, and if I indulged, and wandered from the Pyrenees to Andalucía, tasting as I went, I wouldn’t be able to pay them either.

Fortunately, enjoying Spain isn’t an all or nothing situation. Even with only 1 day to go exploring you could see plenty and taste some really special wines. Provided you don’t might doing a bit of driving, that is.

No matter where in Europe you’re starting from, you should be able to get an early morning flight into Madrid Airport. From the arrivals hall, skip over to the car rental desk and get yourself a set of wheels. Leave Madrid and drive northeast past Segovia and Ávila. After about an hour and a half, you’ll reach the Rueda region and the vineyards of Bodegas José Pariente, home to this outstanding Verdejo:

José Pariente Rueda Verdejo

Gareth Keogh of Wines Direct with Victoria Pariente and family

“A house wine in El Bulli for four years, this is one of the finest examples of Rueda and a wine to win over Sauvignon drinkers; fresh tangy lemon and grapefruit, balanced out by clean green fruits, and a dry finish. Drink with all kinds of things fishy, or by itself.”

John Wilson, Irish Times.

Even by itself, a wine worthy of being the house white in the Best Restaurant in the World would merit a trip, but there’s even more on our whistlestop itinerary. Get back on the road to Valladolid (bringing a designated driver is recommended!) and continue east towards Aranda del Duero. After about an hour’s drive, you’ll find yourself in Ribero del Duero, on the doorstep of the Montelaguna winery. Montelaguna is an enormous and beautiful 350Ha family estate that has been cultivated in the same way for centuries, using what we would now call Biodynamic methods. As well as providing a haven for all kinds of flora and fauna, Montelaguna produces some amazing Tempranillo:

Montelaguna Ribera del Duero Roble

José De Las Heras, De Las Heras Jr. and a very large bottle of Montelaguna Roble

“From one of the higher vineyards in Ribera near the town of Pesquera. Due to their elevation, the estate is often forced to pick late in October (and risk frost damage). American oak is noticeable on the first sniff, then dark berry fruits come through – fresh and fruity on the palate but with grip and some seriousness. Will show best with chargrilled steak.”

Leslie Williams, The Irish Examiner.

From Montelaguna, Madrid airport is just two hours drive to the south. Two hours during which you can think back on the day’s wines, arriving ready to board your flight home; tired, happy and with your thirst for Spain at least temporarily satisfied.

And if you can’t spare even one day for this reduced Spanish adventure, then you can have the same taste experience in our Arnotts or Mullingar stores from Monday 6th of November. Both the José Pariente Verdejo and the Montelaguna Roble will be open for tasting.