Located on a high plateau in the mountainous area of Huesca (known for its ski resorts), the wine region of Somontano lies at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. The name Somontano actually means “Under the Mountain”. The region is gorgeous with green fields and hills, wildflowers, medieval hamlets, and lonely hilltop monasteries. The principal wine town is Barbastro, with most of the wineries close by. The climate in this part of Spain is continental with snowy winters and hot summer months, and extremely sudden changes in temperature when the seasons change. There are roughly 2,700 hours of direct sunlight per year, optimum growing conditions. There are about 3,000 ha under vine registered by the locale regulatory council, and the region is dominated by less than 5 top wineries (namely Enate, Bodegas Pirineos and Viñas del Vero).
Traditionally, the indigenous grapes used created very rustic wines (local grapes include Moristel, Parraleta for red wine, and Macabeo and Alcañon for white wine). These traditional styles of wine have been completely and utterly uprooted and replaced with the new wave of modern winemaking, using many international varietals (including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer) and Spanish noble grapes such as Tempranillo. The key players in this wine region are the above mentioned wineries who have invested millions in ultra-modern wineries, star winemakers and wine tourism infrastructure. Whereas in other parts of Spain it can be impossible to visit wineries, Enate, Bodegas Pirineos and Viñas del Vero have set out to be main attractions on Spanish wine tours. The region offers the gourmet tourist a complete package: cozy restaurants tucked away in romantic, historic villages offering the excellent local cuisine (high on game, artisan cheeses, rich vegetable dishes and homemade sausage chorizos); stunning modern wineries who open their doors to happy, wine loving visitors; and wonderful landscapes and scenery.
Key Attractions in Somontano Wine Regions
Wonderfully preserved village dating back to the 9th century, when it was founded by the Moors. The name in fact was called “Al-Qasr” by the Moors, which means “Fortress” in Arabic. The hamlet is located in a spectacular setting, within the Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara, one of the most beautiful natural parks in Europe with protected falcons, eagles, and a variety of animals, flora and fauna. The village has a superb 16th century Colegiata, and there is a fantastic small, charming hotel where we will be featuring on our wine tours, with breathtaking views into the valley.
Castillo de Loarre
Ancient castle fortress, which was founded on the site of a Roman castle in the 11th century and later remodeled by Sancho I of Aragón who placed the entire complex under the rule of the Augustine monks. The castle lies in the countryside now, away from any towns, but is imposing and impressive and boasts a Romanesque church inside the castle walls.