Revisiting an Old Friend
The name Regina Viarum might ring a few bells for some. You could be thinking of the Appian Way in Italy: the ancient Roman road connecting the capital with the Mediterranean port of Brundisium, but no. On this occasion I’m referring to one of the most prestigious wineries (bodegas) in the Ribeira Sacra. Let me refresh your memory.
“Perched majestically on the edge of the river Sil gorge is the Regina Viarum winery. Even the name conjures up images of Imperial Roman legions marching towards Rome with their precious cargo of fruity red wines.”
This short extract is taken from my book, ‘Journey To A Dream’.
Like a magician’s illusion, the last twelve years have disappeared. All that remains are amazing memories. Since our previous visit to the winery, the adjacent village of Doade has transformed itself into a bustling tourist centre while managing to retain its rural charm.
Creeping slowly through the village, we caught the first glimpse of our destination. Perched on a hilltop and built in the style of a palatial Roman villa, it commands an enviable position overlooking the terraced slopes of the river Sil.
A long, meandering driveway takes visitors from the road to their destination. Both sides are lined with young grapevines and tall, spindly cypress trees. Statues of the Gods greeted our approach but nothing prepares visitors for the panorama awaiting them from the car park. I often see lists in magazines and periodicals with titles such as, ‘The 10 most spectacular views in the world’ or ‘Ten must-see places before you die’. I’m sure they are all wonderful locations but in my experience, the landscape from here is unsurpassable.
Having feasted on the view, we entered the winery. Twelve years on from our last visit, the sterilized feel of a newly built property has been replaced with a more lived-in ambience. Other than that, the place remains very much the same. We joined a small party of tourists on a wine tasting tour. It began in the bodega and finished upstairs in the tasting suite.
By the time we hopped back in the car the thermostat had hit 32 degrees and the time had ticked round to 2:10.
‘Shall we stop in the village for lunch?’ I asked.
When we’d passed through the village earlier I’d noticed a new bar, Taperia a Ribeira (Doade 55, Sober, Lugo +34 982152495). It seemed as good a place as any to stop. Wrought iron gates lead into a charming courtyard. Leaves from a sprawling grapevine provided natural shade and ripening grapes dangled from overhead trellising.
We ordered a bottle of the region’s finest and una tabla (a selection of cured meats and cheese). The barman proudly announced that the chorizo was homemade: a real treat and a sure indication that the ham would be home-cured too.
The tabla arrived; lomo, salchichon, cheese, and best of all delicious homemade chorizo, and melt-in-the-mouth home-cured jamon. We washed it down with one of my favourite white wines of the area, Val da Lenda: a fruity and slightly acidic wine made from 100% godello grapes.
It felt good to revisit an old friend and discover a new one. Rest assured, we’ll be back before another twelve years have elapsed.
I rarely ask questions but I’m curious to know, if you had to choose one place in the whole of Spain that I should visit before I die where would it be?
Copyright © 2014 Craig Briggs
Craig and Melanie own and operate a luxury farmhouse rental property called Campo Verde. To find out more about a stay at Campo Verde and Galicia in general, visit our website getaway-galicia
Craig’s book, Journey To A Dream, is available exclusively from Amazon, to purchase your copy click here for your national Amazon store.