Ribera del Guadiana, Extremadura's oenological treasure
Throughout the length and breadth of the Iberian Peninsula, there are many prestigious wine regions. One of the main areas in terms of wine production is Extremadura, although it is not as well known internationally as the Rioja or Ribera del Duero designations, in this area you can find several regions of great oenological importance, gathered under the general Designation of Origin of Ribera del Guadiana. Here we tell you all about it so that you can become an expert and get the courage to taste the wines of this area and discover the richness of its territories.
The grape harvest season in Spain and Portugal takes place between August and September, the perfect time to visit this region and learn all the secrets of the birth and production of these excellent quality wines and even take part in the grape harvest process.
The Matanegra region, located in the south of Extremadura, has a great potential that has been revalued in recent decades. Its native varieties, such as Eva de los Santos, helped by the mild climate, produce white wines of excellent quality, complemented by the production of tempranillos with prestigious grapes.
If you pass through the Matanegra region, you can't miss the opportunity to explore its historic towns, such as Zafra or Fuente de Cantos, places with a wealth of culture, such as monuments like the Palace of the Dukes of Feria or fairy-tale monuments influenced by Gaudí, or take part in bird-watching activities, as it is home to some of the most important populations of local species such as the lesser kestrel. You can also relax in its spas and learn more about the virtues of thermal waters.
The region of Tierra de Barros extends along plains with a dry, warm climate and soils with high water retention, which has made it an excellent region for growing grapes. The most outstanding feature of this area is the production of cava in Almendralejo, the only town outside Catalonia and Valencia to join the National Regulatory Council of the Cava Designation of Origin. Its red wines, celebrated nationally, are intense in colour and on the palate, and are the perfect accompaniment to the region's typical cuisine.
Tierra de Barros, in addition to its vast range of wine, is a must for its historical importance: don't miss the town of Hornachos, the last stronghold of the Moors before they were expelled from Spain, a unique place to visit and discover how the remains of the past are still present today. You can also enjoy the wonders of nature in places such as the Sierra de Hornachos mountains, the area around the Guadajira river and Alange, a strategic point for observing the night sky thanks to its low light pollution.
The Ribera Alta, with sandy soils due to the deposits of the Guadiana, and a continental climate, produces high quality table wines, with grapes such as Alarije and Borba in white, and Tempranillo in reds.
Its vast historical heritage will delight the most adventurous travellers: the cities of Mérida and Medellín, with their Roman and medieval past, are unforgettable historical visits, where you can complete your experience by tasting traditional dishes such as migas extremeñas or pestorejo (a dish made from fried breadcrumbs) or by making exclusive winery experiences.
La Ribera Baja comparte gran parte de su frontera con Portugal, lo que hace que no sólo su clima sea similar, sino que su cultura, y su esencia, sean en cierto modo parecidas. Los vinos tintos de Ribera Baja, con tonalidades cereza y carnosos al paladar, son reconocidos a nivel nacional por su calidad.
In this region, you can enjoy gourmet products that go beyond wine, such as olive oil from Monterrubio or the omelette from Villanueva de la Serena, the birthplace of this typical Spanish dish, which celebrates an omelette festival every year. You can also visit cities of great historical importance, such as Badajoz, and immerse yourself in its Moorish past.
The Cañamero wine region is situated in the heart of the Sierra de Guadalupe, a feature that gives the vineyards high altitude and influences the ripening and flavour of the fruit and wines. The blending of varieties is common practice, resulting in full-bodied, aromatic reds and smooth, full-flavoured whites.
The Monastery of Guadalupe is one of the most outstanding visits you can make while enjoying the wonders of this region, where you will discover its impressive architecture and historical importance, as great figures such as Christopher Columbus were received here; for the Catholic Monarchs the monastery was a favourite place to visit on numerous occasions. Such was the importance they attached to this place that Queen Isabella ordered that her will be guarded by the monks of the monastery.
Be sure to try another of the great local products, olive oil, in specialised tastings or combined with the region's typical dishes, and make the most of your trip to discover the other wonders that the Villuercas-Ibores Geopark has to offer.
Montánchez, to the north of Ribera Alta, is a region of complicated orography, with steep mountain ranges that create a curious landscape in which the vines grow, helped by the warm summers. Its renowned white wines are fresh and light on the palate, with fruity and floral notes.
On your visit to the Montánchez region, you will find a wide variety of activities to do: you can visit charming towns and cities, such as Montánchez or Trujillo, and savour their typical gastronomy, in which Iberian ham and Torta del Casar, both with Designation of Origin, stand out; observe unique landscapes of pastures and vineyards, learn all the secrets of competition horses and enjoy the best views in wine tastings and specialised workshops, or enjoy all that the nature of the region has to offer. Sierra de Montánchez.
Spain, and specifically Extremadura, has a great wine culture. The wonders of Extremadura are many and varied, and the common thread of wine forms a series of spaces of great renown and history, and oenological routes of great value.
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