This almost feels like an afterthought to write… but the wine is pretty damned good, too!
Camino 2022 Beginnings
I started walking the Camino Aragonés, and then will join up with the Camino Francés, my second time walking the Camino de Santiago. As I walk, I will also be doing an occasional wine blog, as I stop and talk with people in wine regions. I hope to finish the Camino in mid-October, and then explore more wine regions in Portugal and other parts of Spain. There are many paths to the Camino, but the
most traditional is the Francés, which starts in southern France, and then stretches across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. There is a rich history of the Camino, dating back to the 9th century, and possibly even before that, which you may find here https://makespain.com/camino-de-santiago/
Camino Aragonés and Garnacha
Garnacha was a high altitude, limited production wine that had rip your face off tannins and a smoking 15% ABV. Nice peppery and savory notes that I like a lot, once I got over all that had happened in my mouth just prior to that.
was a 2011 Blecua from the Somontano region of Huesca, Aragon, and a Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo/Syrah/Merlot blend, and a reasonable 14% abv that didn’t quite smoke the back of my throat like the previous two wines had done. Dark plum and burnt rubber on the nose, plum and savory notes on the palate. The tannins were significant, but softer and rounder, given the vintage.
Next, I will be on my way across Aragon to Navarra, starting in Pamplona, as I join the Camino Francés. I will post occasional blog posts, as time and energy permit, while on the Camino. If you’d like to see day to day pics of the Camino, follow me on Instagram at Jeff D. Peterson (injeffinitely) and for occasional short wine posts, follow me on Instagram at Vinum Docet (vinumdocet).
There’s something about coming into the Rioja region of Spain on the Camino Francés and seeing all of the vineyards. Differing systems of trellising, but everything from vast acreages planted in Tempranillo, to small pockets of vines in areas protected from winds that fly across the region in the spring. The adjoining regions of Navarra and Rioja, to the west of Logroño, makes for an incredible view of vineyards, that slowly turn into wheat fields as you keep walking.
As I worked my way through Rioja I sampled amazing Crianzas, or wines that have been in oak for at least a year, as opposed to Reservas which have been aged for two years, at least one of which reds to have been in oak, Gran Reservas have been aged for two years in oak, and three in a bottle.to be honest, at the places you are eating and drinking as a “peregrino,” or pilgrim of the Camino, I haven’t seen a lot of Gran Reserva action.
Finally, in Burgos, which lies west of the Rioja region, I started sampling wines from the Ribera del Duero. Ribera del Duero is one of my favorite wine regions of Spain, and lies directly south of Burgos. The wines have some amazing dark cherry aromas, good acidity and medium tannins, with dark fruits and leather on the palate.
Not a bad way to walk across Spain!
The first leg of the Camino takes you over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, after which you descend into Pamplona and the Navarro region of Spain. One of my favorite sites coming out of Pamplona was seeing some of the first “copa” style vineyards of Tempranillo. They are shaped in a copa, or “glass/cup” style with four branches low to the ground. After that, every year the vines are trimmed back, so that new growth produces low-lying crops they must be handpicked. You see many new vineyards being trellised and machine picked, but I appreciate the beauty and care put into the old vines.
I left Pamplona on the Camino Francés, which takes you over the Alto de Perdón, and into the beginnings of Navarra wine region. Mostly Tempranillo and Garnache are to be found, and most of the region is planted in red wine varietals. The wines I tried were not overly tannic, but with some earthy flavors to them, and mostly Crianzas. And one of my favorite parts of the Camino is being able to eat and drink across Spain and experience the incredible synergy between the wines and the food.