Visiting natural parks, villages and environments surrounding Garnacha/Grenache producers, especially those located in northeastern Spain and southern France, is a delight for the senses.
Each of the Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) belonging to the “European Garnacha /Grenache Quality Wines” program offers a myriad of interesting activities that serve as a stimulus for tourism in these spectacular enclaves, while at the same time becoming a great opportunity to learn about the history of this unique variety. Here are some examples:
Campo de Borja PDO. In this area of Aragon (northeastern Spain), a visit to the 16th century Palace of the Counts of Bureta, an authentic hillside winery with a centuries-old tradition in Aragon, is of great interest. Do’t miss the route through the caves dug by pick and shovel in soft soils where families traditionally made their own wine. This PDO is one of the oldest in Aragon, and its vineyards have been documented since 1203. A compelling reason to visit the vineyards where Garnacha is the main protagonist, with 80% of the total crop. The area also offers a bicycle route of about 152 kilometers of landscapes and vineyards. In addition, you can have a fun ride through these wineries on the hill on a sled with wheels pulled by dogs, called ‘mushing‘.
Cariñena PDO. The Campo de Cariñena Wine Route revolves around wine, of course, but also water, ceramics, Roman remains, Goya’s paintings, charming villages, and lots of nature. In this sense, the producers of this PDO offer outdoor tastings, live jazz, dinners, yoga clases, and artistic painting or watching the Perseids among the vineyards. The Cariñena PDO is the oldest and dates to Roman times. Its fame increased in the late Middle Ages, but its European recognition began in 1865.
Calatayud PDO. A mountain range of vineyards and Mudejar art -the church of Santa María del Tobed, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, stands out- but also a territory with spectacular landscapes, gorges, rivers and ravines, whose most relevant monument is the Monasterio de Piedra, dating to the 12th century. Inside is the Wine Museum of the Protected Designation of Origin Calatayud. The landscape of this area is perfect for hiking and has a wide range of spas with mineral-medicinal waters, golf course and a magnificent heritage legacy where you can visit the wineries of this PDO and taste its excellent wines.
Somontano PDO. Its wines enjoy a great reputation and the landscapes of its vineyards, and the nearby Natural Parks make a visit to Somontano a memorable trip. In this area, 4,000 hectares are cultivated with vines and more than 30 wineries. One of the most interesting destinations in this appellation is Barbastro, a beautiful town with great gastronomic richness and exceptional wines made with Garnacha/Grenache. Also, the Somontano wine bus allows a dream route that goes through crypts, wineries, and localities with guided wine tastings.
The Calatayud, Somontano, Campo de Cariñena and Campo de Borja Wine Routes have joined forces to form the Enoturismo Aragón brand to promote themselves jointly and thus intensify their presence in the market.
Terra Alta. In this beautiful land of Tarragona, you can immerse yourself in unique landscapes that inspired Pablo Picasso and that he captured in his paintings. Away from the big cities is a hidden area full of culture and wine tradition where the traveler can get lost visiting wineries and strolling through the vast fields of vineyards. The wine together with the gastronomy make it an ideal place to travel, enjoy, and get the most enological part out of it.
And in the south of France, the producers of these PDOs and PGIs offer as many tourist activities that are also very attractive:
From Collioure to Port-Vendres, Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbère, in the French area of PDO Banyuls, Banyuls Grand Cru, Collioure and PGI Côte Vermeille, the vine culture, planted between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, is the dominant economic activity with tourism. This is a beautiful land in south of France with vines bathed by the sun, resistant to the winds blowing from the coast and build from the grec antiquity with terraces on slopes. In addition, there is a great traditional knowledge about wine transmitted from generation to generation that awakens the interest of the traveler and their palate with its ancestral flavors.
The 4 villages of this area offer a lot for tourists… over a delicate gastronomy based on the sea products and the pathway “Sentier du Littoral” leading you along the Mediterranean seashore through emblematic vineyards made from Grenache, Collioure, known also for the summer castle of the King of Majorque and as the cradle for the Fauvism, offers a pleasant stroll along the charming tiny seaport. The others small seashore villages are also reknown for their pittoresque colored streets, and for the sea reserve and the famous sculptor/peinter Aristide Maillol.
Nestled south of the Corbières mountains, dominated by the castle of Quèribus, the foothills of the Pyrenees and along the river Agly, the PDO Maury, Côtes du Roussillon Villages and Communal, dedicating a huge part of the vineyard to the Grenache, are located northwest of Perpignan (France). You will can discover this unique corridor landscape using “le train rouge” with a departure from Rivesaltes… or doing until some trecking through the hillsides of the PDO Tautavel (European prehistoric center), Caramany (with the Roman Aqueduc at Ansignan), Lesquerde or Latour de France.
For the tourist, it will be impossible to miss the area in the middle of the Pyrénées-Orientales. Visiting roman churchs, the BYRRH institution in Thuir, the Cork Museum in Maureillas… The PDO Côtes du Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Aspres, Rivesaltes and PGI Côtes Catalanes will show always the proof of the quality of wines made in Roussillon (France) with a based of Grenache.