A Weekend of Castles, Eating, Horseriding and Wine-tasting

Posted on January 6, 2010


There are several places to go for a weekends break from Madrid and I can recommend this mini tour that we have just done.

Just over an hours drive from Madrid is Complejo Turistico Rural de Tiedra. Hacienda offers amongst others horse riding and quad biking. It’s a beautiful place, and just two years old so everything is fresh and modern. The rooms are well done and ours had a four-poster bed, a small lounge area, patio outside and a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi (much-needed after 2hours on a horse).

And of course there is a wonderful restaurant. The speciality of the region is Lechazo which is the most tender lamb I have ever tasted. Slow roasted and served in a terracotta dish, usually for two people, it is a little piece of heaven.  Morcilla (a type of black pudding – or blood sausage for Americans) from nearby Burgos is also a must try.  Here it was served with a tomato marmalade which was delicious. All washed down with a bottle of Toro from the local region. A perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday we took a leisurely drive to Ribera del Duero, a  wine region that rivals Rioja. We stayed at the magnificent Residencia Real Castillo de Curiel, a restored 9th century castle (pictured right).

Still on the theme of castles, a must do is visit the wine museum in Peñafiel Castle. Try out the scents and see how trained your nose is. They sell smelling kits too but at over 90eur for 26 scents I thought it was a bit much. The tasting was good – interactive and very educational however they didn’t have an English speaker available.

We ate at the castle where I was impressed with the food, especially the enormous portions (morcilla with pine nuts and honey pictured to the right). Restaurant recommendations also included: Plata (which has a 20eur menu including lechazo) and Molino de Palacios (a windmill).

Some of the wineries to note:

  • Wine tasting in a 15th century monastery is part of the charm at Bodega Abadia Retuerta. It is non-DO winery but I loved their Selecion Especial and the Rivola is pretty good too. Book ahead.
  • Comenge, at the base of Real Castillo de Curiel. Try the 2004 Crianza which has won awards
  • Bodega Matarromera supplies the royal family sometimes and they have some good Tinto Pais (Tempranillo).
  • Protos came highly recommended, particularly for the Bodega’s modern architecture, but unfortunately it was closed when we were there.

Before we travel to a new wine region, we usually do some background research in The World Atlas of Wine