Last week I went back to Ribadavia in a family trip to visit the 50 edition of the Ribeiro Wine Fair. Wine is becoming more and more important once again in this area of the province of Ourense. And I say once again because Ribeiro wine – a pleasant white mainly created with local Treixadura grape along with Godello, Albariño and rediscovered Lado grape – was already popular at least 500 years ago. It’s a wine with history then, located in an area that those who love a step back in time have to discover as well.
Christianism shows in many of the Romanesque churches spread in a Route that spreads all around the hills that surround Ribadavia – a privilieged area surrounded by rivers Avia, Miño and Arnoia – inhabited 400 years ago by jewish that really developed the business of wine locally produced. Documents confirm that Ribeiro was brought by Columbus caravels to America.
Historically, the English became very good customers of this wine until the XVII century. The changes in England related with Anglican religion caused though that the local church – the owners of most of the cultivated areas – decided to stop selling it to England.
Even if some weeks ago I visited some of the most important vineyards – Coto de Gomariz or Viña Costeira – this time, by the vineyards Train –especially for these days of the Fair – I could see from very close the terraces system that reminded me for a moment my times living near the Cinque Terre, in Italy, where this very peculiar system of production created over difficult hills come from roman times round here. The ground the other day looked dry and I am anxious to visit once again the area during harvest days in September.
In the description of the guide on the train I received once again the very important information of the fact that the grape to produce the Denomination of Origin – seal that indicates that the wine is processed through strict controls over the grapes used, that must be locally produced –is something that will always make of this wine something unique.
The locals and more and more young generations are fortunately realizing the potential richness that they have in their hands and they are restoring many of the abandoned areas creating new vineyards; it’s history through a glass of wine in a fascinating area that will certainly give you a new perspective of Galicia.
Ribadavia by car is 1.15 minutes from Santiago de Compostela.
Customised Tours of the area can be organized upon request through the form below.