On our 16-day trip to Spain, we stopped at some of the obvious tourist attractions like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Royal Palace in Madrid and the old Spanish capital, Toledo. We also visited the small town of Haro in the La Rioja province of Northern Spain. It’s a small town with a population of around 11,000 people and it’s famous for it’s fine red wine. Most of the red wine in Spain is produced in the La Rioja area, which produces about 90% red wine and about 10% white wine and rosé.
We honestly didn’t know what to expect from such a small, not-so-popular-with-tourists kind of town but we were blown away by how amazing Haro is. Needless to say, we fell in love with the architecture, the small winding streets and obviously, the wine itself!
Over 600 hectares of land are used for grape growing in Haro. That’s a lot of land, a lot of grapes and a whole lot of wine.
WINERIES / BODEGAS
We are from South Africa and our most famous wine region is in the Western Cape, just outside of Cape Town. Being the big wine lovers that we are, we have been to a few of the different wine farms and they are totally different to what we experienced in Haro.
ln Cape Town, the wineries are mostly situated on the wine farms themselves and therefore, are relatively far apart from one another. In Haro, all the bodegas (wineries) are clustered together in the town and the grapes are brought in from the farms which lie on the outskirts of town. Now this is not a major difference, but it does mean you can go wine tasting at multiple different bodegas on foot, which is awesome!
We saw many amazing places and enjoyed loads of really interesting things during our time in Spain, but one of our favorite experiences on our entire trip, was the cellar tour we did at C.V.N.E. The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de Espańa is a family-run bodega which was founded in 1879 and is still being run by direct descendants of the Real de Asua family. This is a must if you ever find yourselves here.
On our tour of the bodega and cellar, we learned how their different wines are made, processed and stored in gigantic wooden barrels. If only we could have taken one home with us! 😉
Our favorite part of the tour by far, was going underground into the cellar, where they had bottles of wine that are 130 years old! That’s right, 130 years old! You could see the cobwebs and the dust gathering on the bottles and it looked like a dungeon, straight out of a horror movie.
130-YEAR OLD WINE
We had a wonderfully knowledgeable tour guide who told us a story of the wine locked behind a steel gate. Apparently, a few wine makers from way back, all got together and brought their best wines with them. They decided to lock all of these great wines away behind the gates and only open the gates to drink the wine under two conditions. Firstly, they all live to be 100 years old and secondly, that they find the key to the gate which they threw into the river. They clearly had no intention of drinking the wine. What a waste 😉
The tour finished back where it started, but not before we tasted a variety of C.V.N.E’s finest wines. As part of the tour, you also get to keep the beautiful wine glasses that you use during the tasting. We managed to get the wine glasses and a bottle of our favorite wine from the tasting back home safely. We’re almost too scared to drink it because then it’s gone forever. We’ll just have to go back for more 🙂
We spent the rest of our time in Haro visiting other bodegas, doing more wine tasting and exploring the quaint, unassuming, little town.
If you’d like to see more of our time in Haro, as well as the 130-year old wine, click on this video. If you enjoy it, please hit that subscribe button so that you can follow our journey.
By Brad & Donna from @wefoundourselveshere