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Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Wine in Spain

Wine has always had a huge importance in all regions of Spain. This holds on until now, Spanish wine gets exported and consumed whole over the globe. And as September has already started, also the harvesting season has started, which usually continues until the end of October. It is the perfect time to travel to Spain right know if you are interested in wine or just enjoy the taste of this delicious drink.

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Source: Verema

Sometimes choosing the right wine can be a challenge, therefore you can find below a short introduction into the labels and classifications of Spanish wine.

Important indications on wine labels

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominacion de Origin (Designation of Origin) is a stamp, which was introduced in 1932 by Spanish law. It guarantees a certain quality standard for wines which were tested by an institution. Every vintner can voluntarily request the label. There are 70 different DOs in the whole country. It classifies the wine into groups which are defined according to common characteristics like the soil a vine is growing on or the weather which influences the taste. The label is indicated on the bottle with DOC, DO or DOQ. DOCa is a special sign for the regions La Rioja and Priorat, which indicates the extraordinary quality of the wine.

Age classifications

Every wine get classified into different groups according to their age. In Spain they divide them in 4 main groups:

Joven, which means it is a pretty young wine, which did not get aged for a long time or in any specific barrel.

Crianza is the next classification, for wines with a minimum age of 1 year and at least 6 months aged in a wooden barrel. In La Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra it is 2 years and 1 year in a wooden barrel.

Reserva, means the wine is at least 2 years (for whites) or 3 years (for reds) old and 6 months (white) or 1 year (red) stored in a wooden barrel.

Gran Reserva is the last group and it stands for wines, which are minimum 4 (white) or 5 (red) years old and 6 (white) or 18 (red) months aged in a wooden barrel. For La Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra there is a minimum of 5 years and 2 years of storage in wooden barrels.

Spanish wine growing regions

Spain is sub-divided in 7 distinct climates and regions. First the northwest “Green” Spain, which is Galicia. It is characterised by lush green valleys and influenced by cool and misty climate. The vintners of the region focus on white wines and the champion variety there is the grape Albariño. But also reds are planted there, like Mencia. Next, there is Mesata Central (Central Plateau) which includes the capital of Spain, Madrid. The weather there is mostly dry, sunny and hot in the summers and dry and moderate mild in the winter. It focuses on red wine productions out of the grapes Garnacha, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot. Another region, which is famous for Sherry, is Andalucía. It lies next to the sea in the south of Spain and comprises cities like Sevilla, Malaga and Granada. The DO Montilla-Moriles focuses on dessert wine productions, which are called PX. The most southern wine growing region of Spain are the Canary Islands. Due to the mainly hot and dry summers and moderate warm winters their main emphasis lies on producing red wines and dessert wines out of the grape Moscatel. The volcanic soils they have are the reason for the gritty taste of rustic minerality of the red wines. The most important regions are Duero River Valley, Catalonia and Basque Country, which get further examined in the next paragraphs.

Duero River Valley’s political name is Castilla y León. The most famous DO of this region is Ribera del Duero, which is famous for its delicious red wines which grow along the hills of the Duero river. Tempranillo is the main variety of this region (also the main variety of whole Spain). The most famous winery of Spain, which is located in Ribera del Duero, is called Vega Sicilia, which operates since 1982.

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Source: Pinterest

Catalonia lies at the Mediterranean coast and has 10 DOs. The amount of wine produced in this region accounts for 25% of the whole wine in Spain. Tasty white wines, as well as deep red reds get produced there. A typical wine drink, only produced here, is Cava, traditional sparkling white wine, which serves to be the best drink for any kind of celebration.

Basque Country lies in the north of Spain, and is famous for delicious wine as well as food. Popular wines there are the white Txakoli and the famous red Rioja. Txakoli, perfect for any hot summer night, because its low in alcohol and Rioja goes will with rich dinners or on winter evenings. Not only the taste of the wines impresses, but also the breath-taking beautiful nature where the vines grow.

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Source: Le Petit Ballon

Festivals

Right now it is the perfect time to come to Spain and celebrate the numerous wine festivals in whole over the country. The celebrations take place during the whole harvesting time, from September to October. Wineries open their cellars and have open days in their production halls. Wine enthusiasts, tourists and locals are invited to wine tastings and to try the tasty food of the regions. The programs also includes typical traditions like folk dance, live music, parades or theatrical performances. The most famous ones are Rioja Grape harvest festivals and the Autumn Festivals.

Traditions

Not only pure wine is typically consumed in Spain, but also any kind of wine cocktail. The most famous is probably Sangria, which is made out of red wine, sugared fruits, and sweet lemon juice. Another common drink is Tinto de Verano, the name already indicates, that it is the perfect beverage for the summer. It is similar to Sangria but only contains red wine and sweet lemon lemonade.

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Source: Barcelona city

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Football and La Liga

Not even one month left – in September the tournament of La Liga begins and will continue until June. Within these months, you can either follow the matches on the television or, to have the best experience of the championship and the fantastic and thrilling atmosphere, go to the stadium and watch a match live.

Football is the most popular sport in Spain, there are over 874.000 registered players (men and women) and more than 21.000 registered clubs. The victories of the Spanish teams of La Liga (mainly Real Madrid and FC Barcelona) in national as well as international cups and of the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the UEFA European Championship in 2008 and 2012 are the reasons why everyone is so enthusiastic about the Spanish football teams.

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Source: Worldpress

La Liga (League):

Already 90 years ago La Liga was founded. The first Premier League was formed by 10 teams including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo, Real Unión, Atlético Madrid, Espanyol, Europa and Racing de Santander. 60 teams have played in La Liga since its establishment.

Nowadays La Primera División includes 20 teams. According to UEFA´s league coefficient it has been the top league in Europe for 5 years. In total Spanish football teams won 66 international tournaments.

There are 2 annual competitions arranged by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, including Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España. La Liga is part of the federation, even though it has autonomy and is not governed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

This year 7 Spanish teams are playing in Europe’s two biggest club competitions: The Champions League will feature Real Madrid (the current champions of the League and of La Liga), FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, and Sevilla CF. Villarreal, Atlhetic de Bilbao, and Real Sociedad are playing in the Europa League.

MAPA

Source: reddit

Important teams of La Liga:

Real Madrid Club de Fútbol (Real Madrid):

It was founded in 1902 and has the second largest stadium in Spain. With 33 Liga victories and 12 European Cub victories, it is not only one of the best teams in Spain, but also in the whole world.

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Source: Real Madrid CF

Futbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona):

Another world known football team is FC Barcelona, which exists since 1899 and has the biggest stadium in whole Spain. As successful and famous as Real Madrid it won 28 Liga games and 4 European Cups.

Club Atlético de Madrid (Atlético Madrid):

The second team of Madrid was established one year after Real Madrid. Atlético Madrid fights successfully in the upper league and already succeeded in 10 Liga championships.

Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona (RCD Espanyol):

Next to FC Barcelona, RCD Espanyol is the second football club in Catalonia. Its stadium is the RCDE Stadium with a capacity of more than 40.000 visitors. They won the first place of Copa del Rey 4 times.

Be part of the game!

Doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the Spanish football league, a fan of football in general, or you don’t care about football – you will LOVE it. Attending one of the matches in Spain is overwhelming and should be on everyone’s bucket list. In the beginning of September the season for La Liga starts and games usually take place on Sundays and sometimes on Saturdays. The atmosphere in one of the Spanish stadiums is intoxicating if you are attending one of the matches of the most famous clubs Real Madrid or FC Barcelona live. But also the high spirits during a game of Espanyol or Atlético de Madrid are incomparable.

And if the game is over and you are still not done with celebrating? Go to one of the bars in the city or celebrate in one of the city’s emblematic spots: every team “owns” its own: La Cibeles Fountain for Real Madrid fans, the Canaletas Fountain for Barcelona supporters, or the Neptuno Fountain for fans of Atlético de Madrid.

If you want to be part of one of these spectacles and celebrate together with national and international fans contact us for further information and bookings.

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Source: YouTube

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In 1988, José Jiménez Lozano and José Velicia had the idea of promoting culture and sacred art through the conservation, development, protection and dissemination of the Heritage of the eleven Catholic dioceses of Castile and León. By establishing “Las Edades del Hombre” (in English The Ages of Man) in San Bernardo (Valladolid), the founders of the organization created the most important exhibition of religious art in Europe.

The exhibition “Reconciliare” in Cuéllar (Segovia) in the region of Castile and León from the 24th of Abril until the 12th of November is the 22nd edition of Las Edades del Hombre and focuses on the double reality of our society: while on the one hand God’s mercy is greater than our sin, evil, division and hatred still exist.

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source: Zoquejo.com

The masterpieces of “Reconciliare” can be found in three emblematic churches of Cuéllar: the church of San Andrés, the church of San Martín and the church of Esteban and are opened to public at the following times:

Church of San Andres Church of San Martin Church of San Esteban
Tuesdays – Fridays
10:00-14:00
16:00-20:00
Tuesdays – Fridays
10:15-14:15
16:15-20:15
Tuesdays – Fridays
10:30-14:30
16:30-20:30
Saturdays, Sundays, Bank holidays
10:00-20:00
Saturdays, Sundays, Bank holidays
10:15-20:15
Saturdays, Sundays, Bank holidays
10:30-20:30

When considering to visit the exhibition and the beautiful town Cuéllar, which is rich in monuments and history, you may also want to use the time to explore the surroundings such as Valladolid, Segovia and Avila!

Valladolid is only 54 km from Cuéllar and the city counts to the most important cultural centres of Spain due to its significant part in the Spanish history. The city offers the perfect location for culture-lovers with many churches and cathedrals as well as numerous museums! Moreover, Segovia, declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is about 60 km down south of Cuéllar. Its countless monuments such as the cathedral, Fortress and numerous Romanesque churches makes Segovia to one of the most beautiful towns in the region. Avila, which is around 100 km away from Cuéllar, attracts many tourists by its stunning remnants of Europe’s medieval era.

Moreover, while visiting the region Castile and León don’t miss the chance to try out their tasty cuisines and delicious wines! The so called roast suckling pig and lamb is well-known in the region and offered by many great restaurants. Especially “Vino de la Tierra” wines, which are high quality wines, are loved by tourists and locals. These wines are often compared with the French “vin de pays”.

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source: el mundo

Don’t miss your chance to combine culture, history and food in a trip to Cuéllar and surroundings and contact us NOW!

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You are craving for a Hollywood-like food fight and your heart beats faster when thinking about the fruity smell of tomatoes being all over you? Well than you better keep reading, because we have the non-plus-ultra festival for you!

La Tomatina, one of the most famous festivals of Spain, is hosted every year on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol. Thousands of people from all over the world come together to throw millions of over-ripe tomatoes at each other, enjoy a great party and, most importantly, have the time of their lives!

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source: Love Valencia

While nobody knows exactly when and where the idea of having a food fight in the centre of a town developed, the most common rumor is about a food fight between friends which escalated in 1945. As some youngsters remembered the event and repeated the messy festival the year after, La Tomatina was forbidden by the city council and local police in the early 50s. After countless protests and imprisonments, the festival became an official festivity of Buñol in 1957 and is loved by everybody ever since then: while in the first years visitors were mainly from Spain, people from all over the world join the festival nowadays.

Prepare yourself for the 30th of August because nobody is going to stay clean! La Tomatina starts at 11 AM and for an hour, you are fighting for yourself against everybody else. Officially, the battle doesn’t start before somebody has climbed a high pole to get the coveted ham at the top. However, the fired water cannons are signal enough to start the fight! While the cleaning progress of the streets is great organized by the city council, only a few public showers are offered and most people find themselves cleaning their clothes in the river.

We won’t lie to you – La Tomatina is a mess, a funny mess, tho. To enjoy the festival to the fullest wear old clothes and closed shoes you are not sad throwing away afterwards. Moreover, leave valuable stuff at home and be respectful with others! One last tip from the professionals: Tuck your shirt into your shorts to always have a clean part to wipe your eyes with!

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source: Flores y plantas

You can read as much as you want about La Tomatina – you will never know how it actually feels like being involved in the biggest food fight of the world when you don’t participate. Book now to join us for THE event of the year because tickets are limited and hotels and hostels in Buñol and surrounding often fully booked out weeks before the event happens! Believe us: you will have the time of your life!

la-tomatina-mapa

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“When we reached the battlefield it was already purple and full of empty wine cartons. The sun was unrelenting and it was hard to differentiate between friends and enemy because out there – there are no rules.” It sounds like it is time for the battle of the year again, because the battle of wine is back in Haro and we are thirstier than ever for red wine!

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source: decanter

Originating from the days back in the 13th century when the city Haro had to defend itself against its neighbors in Miranda de Ebro to stay independent, the battle of wine is a hundreds of years old tradition. After a mass on the 29th of June in 1710, the first battle of wine occurred at the Bilibio cliffs and ever since then, people celebrate this day with pouring wine on each other.

Even though, the festivity is celebrated on the Feast Day of St Peter, you will barely find a local being aware of this Feast Day. The so-called Battle of Wine, known as Batalla del Vino in Spanish is all about wine, people and drinking and has made the small city Haro in La Rioja world famous.

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source: The Independent

Although, the battle of wine is the most important act of the festival, the celebrations are going on for almost a week, starting on Saturday night with wine, fun and partying. Meet up with your friends at the town square, the centre of the celebrations on Saturday to drink, eat and enjoy the great vibes.

The actual battle is on the 29th of June and you have to get up early to participate: starting with a procession at 7 AM at the cliffs of Bilibio like in the old days, the crowd continues to the “battlefield of wine” right afterwards. Take a bus for the first part of the road and prepare yourself to walk the last kilometre as the buses cannot turn there.

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source: Tasting Europe

No rules are set during the fight: Whether you want to use buckets, wineskins or sprayers; as long as it can hurl thousands of liters of wine all over the crowd it is perfect for the fight. Bear in mind that the battle is like a playground to locals: no matter how hard you hit them, they know thousands of ways to get you back even worse. Survive the battle by wearing googles – red wine can be painful and remember that you are a guest during this festivities: the festival is made by locals and for locals and while there are already a lot of tourists, the battle of wine has not lost its original flair yet.

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source: Daily Mail

At midday, when everybody is purple from head to toe and it is sure that nobody can get rid of the smell for the next few days, the crowd heads back to Plaza de la Paz to celebrate with great food and more wine. Finish off the day with a bullfight in the arena whereby no animal is killed!

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source: Decanter.com

It is no surprise that the festival is celebrated in Haro where 40 % of the entire La Rioja region’s vineyards are situated and wine is running though the veins of the locals. However, there are more must-sees in Spain for wine lovers. To give examples, Ribera de Duero and the region Valdepeñas are world famous for their long history of producing quality wine.

No matter if it’s the dirty wine battle or a classy wine route which fascinate you – Spain offers both. Contact us now to get more information about our wine programs and fall in love with the unique taste of Spanish quality wine when traveling to one of the most famous wine regions in the world!

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