Wine is terroir and terroir is culture. Here wine varieties and blends have been perfected through centuries, creating unique products that can only be found in that specific soil and climate, and done in that specific process. This is why each of the territories that conform VISITGastrOH! offers dozens of certified products that simply cannot be made anywhere else. The Destination Denomination of Origen was created specially for you to enjoy as many of these unique products as you possibly can!
But this is just as true when it comes to wine. With 10 Denominations of Protected Origin, in an area smaller than Belgium, VISITGastrOH! can claim to be as unique as it gets.
So what does this Protected Designation of Origin mean exactly?
As you travel around any region in Europe, you will start seeing weird acronyms such as DOP, AOC, AOP, IGP, and so on. These are all certification of origin which guarantee that this product, variety or process is specific to a region or area and cannot be found anywhere else. A product of Protected Designation of Origin (AOP in French or DOP in Spanish) entails that the principal steps for production are done following a well-established technique within the same geographical area – or terroir, which gives the product its characteristics.
So if you happen to see those letters on your journey, make a stop and get a taste because this may be your only opportunity!.
Destination Wine: the dream route for wine lovers
Whether you’re having pintchos, a five-course meal at a Michelin star restaurant or a cheese platter at a local farm, wine is the absolute best pairing.
Destination Wine is a trail dedicated to the discovery of local wines through visits of vineyards and wine producers, tastings and workshops. It combines together 7 thematic routes through the 5 territories so that you do not miss a thing.
Whether you are the type to order the house red at a restaurant or of those who can recognize the subtle difference between harvest years, I am sure you will find your happiness in this journey.
Béarn and the Jurançon
If you know little or nothing about the Béarn region, discovering it through a tour of its 4 AOP is a great way to start. Between the AOP Béarn, AOP Jurançon, AOP Madiran and AOP Pacherenc you’ll enjoy a vast array of tastes and colours, with some bright rosés and silky smooth sweet wines.
In particular – and I promise I’m not being biased! – I recommend that you take a tour of the Jurançon estates and vineyards located close to Pau, including the Domaine de Cstèra, Domaine du Cinquau and the Clos Lapeyre.
Sweet but with a touch of acidity, a floral and mellow finish, and a deep golden colour… the irresistible wines of Juraçon are singular and often different from what you may be used to. Step by step, you will become a professional of this regional wine but you will also surely fall in love with the mountainous and green landscapes of Béarn.
The vineyards of the French Basque Country
Get back in your car and drive towards the ocean, but do not go all the way to the coast this time. Rather, stop mid-way, in the heart of the Basque mountains, to discover the French Basque country and the wine of Irouléguy. Located about ten minutes from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, 250 hectares are waiting for you during your visit as well as a few glasses of white wine, red wine and rosé.
The Irouléguy producers are committed to using regional varieties from the Great South-West of France, such as tannat, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon for the red wines, and gros manseng, petit manseng, courbu et petit courbu for the white ones.
As of 2020, at least 50% of the production is certified organic or in process of being certified.
If you are an aspiring wine connoisseur and would like to train yourself to recognise the different aromas of wine, I advise you to visit the famous Irouguély cellar where olfactory games will test your oenological skills.
The wines of Navarra
I hope you didn’t get too tired from testing your smelling abilities at the cellars of Irouléguy as the visit is far from finished! We are now crossing the border into the Navarra region.
Do you know a lot about the wines of Navarre? Well, whatever your answer is, a day on the Navarra wine route is definitely something you’ll just have to do.
The region takes you on a journey through its winegrowing history, from its creation to its modernisation and invites you to discover the art and heart of its products. Surrounded with exceptional landscapes, meet wine merchants, visit vineyards and taste local wines like chardonnay or white muscat.
As Navarre is full of surprises, a real community of wine lovers has been created to ensure that you don’t miss any event and that you live the Navarrese experience to the full.
A region preceded by its reputation: La Rioja
I hope that you have been able to integrate yourself into this community of wine addicts and that you will help them discover VISITGastrOH! as well as other routes like the one I am about to present to you.
Here we are at last in the famous La Rioja region! Of course there is much more to it than wine but the quality and extent of its viticulture is definitely a great and wonderful part of its identity.
Ride horses through the vineyards, take a hot air balloon ride, get a vinotherapy-based massage or admire the region’s architectural masterpieces. Here it’s not about tasting, it’s about the way you do so!
A toast with Txakoli wine
To finish your trip in style, follow the horizon towards the ocean and land in the Spanish basque country where the Txakoli wine route is waiting for you.
About 30 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz towards Bilbao, travel through the vineyards of the region. I bet you won’t say no to a glass of local wine as you explore the wineries and small villages in the area.
Do you want to check out something unusual? I don’t even know why I’m asking you, I’m pretty sure you said “yes” right away, isn’t it? Well, this wine region offers you the opportunity to discover an astonishing and yet little known technique, underwater wine making.
My dear wine lovers, this is where our journey together ends. But I am sure you will have plenty of fun exploring the hundreds of wineries distributed around the area on your own. Just make sure all these tastings do not go to your head and remember to always drink in moderation!
Afterall, you have to keep enough energy to book your tickets to VISITGastrOH!. Don’t worry, you won’t have to drive: there are daily flights to Bilbao airport from all main locations in Europe.
See you soon!