This destination is the second stop of the Birthday Road Trip.
We arrived to Peñafiel in the late afternoon on a Friday, and we met up with our friends who were coming from all parts of Spain, to join us on our weekend festivities. Peñafiel is a charming town located at the heart of the wine country of Ribera del Duero in the province of Valladolid in the region Castilla y León. Its first distinctive feature is a castle atop a giant rock “peña” mountain, with expansive views of the beautiful vineyards.
Some of the famous wineries of this area are Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Abadia Retuerta, Alion, Mauro and Protos. If you want to purchase or sample wines from smaller wineries you can stop at the wine shop in town, Vinos Ojosnegros.
Another distinctive site, is the “Plaza del Coso”, a bullfighting ring completely enclosed by private residences dating from the middle ages. It is really spectacular to enter through a small opening on the housing block to find this singular space with the castle in the background.
Day Two- After breakfast some people walked around the city, visited the Plaza del Coso and then we met for our first planned activity: a tour of the Protos winery. We chose this winery not only for the quality of the wine, but also because their modern building was designed by the British architect Richard Rogers. You have to make reservations ahead of time for their wonderful one and a half hour tour, which takes you through their cellars built on the natural caves under the mountain. You can see from afar the multiple chimneys that ventilate these underground spaces.
After the fabulous wine tasting, we went to lunch at Asados Mauro, whose specialty is the most delicious “lechazo”, young lamb roasted on firewood. Other delicacies of the region are Flor de Esgueva cheese, sopa castellana, the dessert Ponche Segoviano and of course all the wines.
After lunch, most went back to the hotel for a siesta, but the most active of the bunch toured the castle. We all reconvened for the official birthday dinner party that lasted until 3:30 am the next day.
Sleep: There are many wonderful lodging options ranging from small boutique hotels on specific vineyards such as Hotel AF Pesquera. We decided to stay in the heart of town in the Hotel Convento las Claras. We were hosting over 80 guests so we chose this very well equipped hotel and the lawn/pool area had great views of the castle which was lit at night.
Coming Soon: Day Three: Roa and Aranda del Duero