Aragón, the northeast Spanish region is probably one of the most underrated ones. However, the region prides itself with numerous UNESCO protected historical monuments and an eyecatching architecture with strong Moorish influence. The capital city, Zaragoza puts itself as a vibrant, cultural city, which is also a birthplace of renowned painter Francisco de Goya. The region, rich with history and built heritage doesn’t also lack in natural places to be enjoyed. Here you will find famous ski resorts, natural parks and protected areas. And of course, like everywhere else in Spain, Aragón also has a strong culture of food and wines.
Aragón lies in the northeast of Spain, right along the centre of the Ebro Valley which runs along with two important mountain ranges: the Pyrenees in the north and the Iberic System in the south. Aragon is surrounded by famous Spanish wine regions. To the east of Aragón is the wine region Catalunya, and to the west, the wine regions of La Rioja, Castile and Leon and Navarra.
Vineyards Nestled in The Heart of The Mountain
The climate in Aragón wine region changes drastically from one part to another because of its location between two mountain ranges. The temperature can be subzero in the areas closer to the Pyrenees while those closer to the Monegros desert could be suffering from unbearable heat. Although Aragón is not a very popular tourist destination, it’s a place to consider while visiting Spain because of its cuisine and excellent variety of Aragón wines.
Vineyards in Aragón wine region account for more than 4 billion sq. feet, of which around 60% are occupied by vineyards under the four designations of origin present in Aragón. The most typical grape used in these wines is the Crujillón or Cariñena, which gave its name to the DO Cariñena, but there are other varieties allowed, such as Juan Ibáñez, Garnacha, Parraleta, Macabeo, Alcañan, Moscatel, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Gewürztraminer. Aragón wines have a renowned quality and are coveted by wine lovers all around the world.
Story of Aragón Wines
Until the 1990s, Aragón overwhelmingly produced bulk, entry level wine which in most cases was the result of wine cooperatives. In more recent years, modern winemaking technology has allowed some of Aragón’s wineries to develop a reputation for quality wines with more complexity, balance and finesse.
Read on to discover some of the best wines to try from Aragón.
Although the most popular DO in Aragón is the DO Somontano, there are three other designations of origin whose wines deserve at least a tasting. Somontano means “under the mountains” and not surprisingly, the area is placed right at the foot of the Pyrenees. The vines in this area are planted in the terraces of the valleys that lead to the northern part of the Ebro Valley. The grape varieties used are Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Moristel, Parraleta, Tempranillo, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah for red wine; Macabeo, Garnacha Blanca, Alcañón, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer for white wine. Somontano produces fruity red wines with balanced alcohol and acidity As well as crispy refreshing white wines.
Traditional cooperatives still function in Aragon and producing mainly red wines from Garnacha. Even though it was used for bulk wine production in the past, there’s a certain minerality to the Garnacha which helps provide an overall impression of precision and complexity.
Other prominent red wines are produced from Carinena grape variety. Carinena is also a denomination name for DOP wines produced in Cariñena in the province of Zaragoza. This grape variety typically produces dark red wines and displays flavours of dark and black fruit with some peppery and spicy notes. Carinena wine is a great companion for aged cheeses such as aged Gouda or Parmesan.
Bodegas You Can Visit in Aragón Wine Region
We prepared the list of Wineries in Aragón, that offer wine tourism experiences and where you will be able to have guided visit to the distinctive world of wine, learn more about the region, and taste the fruits of mountain terroir.
Have a look at some of the below:
Bodegas y Viñedos del Jalón, producing wines for around 20 years, is located in the Maluenda region of Aragón. The picturesque vineyards and their surrounding landscapes mesmerize every visitor of the winery.
Your visit to the winery, besides infromative tasting of food and wine, comprises of a tour of the cliff, overlooking the charming landscapes, and a visit to National Park of Monasterio de Piedra.
Zaragoza is the capital of northeastern Spain’s Aragón region. Overlooking the Ebro River in the city centre is baroque Nuestra Señora del Pilar basilica, a famous pilgrimage site with a shrine to the Virgin Mary and multiple domes.
Mudéjar-style landmarks, combining Islamic and Gothic architecture, include the Aljafería, an 11th-century Moorish palace, and the Cathedral of the Savior, begun in the 12th century.
The churches of San Pablo, Santa María Magdalena and San Gil Abad, all with medieval origins, have Mudéjar towers that rise above the old quarter along the Ebro River. The Museo del Foro de Caesaraugusta houses 1st-century A.D. Roman ruins. Ancient mosaics and other historical fine art are preserved in the Museo de Zaragoza. The Museo Goya – Colección Ibercaja houses paintings by Francisco Goya in a 16th-century nobleman’s manor. In a nearby Renaissance-style palace, the Museo Pablo Gargallo displays works of the namesake 20th-century sculptor.
Alquezar – Rich cultural heritage set in stunning natural surroundings
Alquézar is in the province of Huesca, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, within the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve. It is the perfect place for sports like canyoning, hiking, horse riding, and mountain biking.
This village also has examples of rock art at the Vero River Cultural Park, a designated World Heritage Site. Also outstanding are its castle, the Santa María la Mayor collegiate church (the region’s most visited monument) with its cloister of Romanesque capitals and its organ, along with many shrines. It is also well worth a trip to the Casa Fabián Ethnological Museum, to get to know the history of this village and the Somontano region, known for its excellent wines.
Teruel – Go on a Journey Through The Old And New Worlds
Teruel is a high-altitude town in the mountainous Aragón region of eastern Spain. It’s known for classic Mudéjar architecture, a style combining Gothic and Islamic elements. Examples include the Santa María de Mediavilla Cathedral, dating to the 12th century, which features an elaborately painted ceiling. The Torre de El Salvador, a 14th-century Mudéjar tower, has an intricate facade and stairs to the top. The main square, Plaza del Torico, is named for the statue of a bull standing atop a central column.
Nearby, the Mudéjar-style Iglesia de San Pedro contains the mausoleum of the so-called Lovers of Teruel, where the couple that inspired a 13th-century legend lies side by side. The arched Los Arcos aqueduct is a landmark from the Renaissance era. A Renaissance palace houses the Museo Provincial, which exhibits Roman mosaics, ceramics and other regional artefacts.
Don’t miss to visit Dinópolis, palaeontology museum and theme park focusing on dinosaur fossils discovered locally.
A paradise for Nature Lovers
The range of natural attractions in Aragón includes spectacular places such as the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (ideal for adventure sports in the open air) and the Pyrenean area, the perfect place for skiing in first-rate ski resorts such as Candanchú and Formigal. It is a pleasure for any visitor to visit these attractions and for the more adventurous there is an excellent opportunity to ski at the local ski resorts.
Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve
Excitement and adventure at its best
Each year, people in search of excitement in the great outdoors head for Aragón. This Region in northeastern Spain is home to the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve. With more than seventy different river gorges, it is a top European destination for the sport of canyoning, as this is where the sport was first started in the country. The Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve is the largest protected natural area anywhere in the Region of Aragón, outstanding, amongst other things, for its rich and varied vegetation. In the Nature Reserve, river water and wind erosion have carved out amazing landscapes with narrow canyons and impressive gorges, which are outstanding for canyoning fans. Their caves, grottos and waterfalls are hard to resist for those looking for outdoor adventure. Exploring the depths of canyons such as El Mascún, Gorgas Negras, La Peonera, El Vero and El Balced is an experience that will leave you keen for more.
Natural Reserve of the Galachos of La Alfranca de Pastriz, La Cartuja and El Burgo de Ebro
A must visit Nature Reserve and protected area
The Natural Reserve of the Galachos of La Alfranca de Pastriz, La Cartuja and El Burgo de Ebro is a protected nature reserve which is over 1700 metres long and 150 metres wide. The reserve houses over 6 hectares of water and 15 hectares of vegetation which attract over 200 species of birds and small mammals.
Wildlife Refuge of The Laguna de Gallocanta
A lively lagoon with beautiful surrounding landscapes
Falling within the boundaries of two provinces, Teruel and Zaragoza, the lake is located just to the south of Gallocanta village, between the Aragonese comarcas of Campo de Daroca and Comarca del Jiloca. This lake is situated on a high continental plain at an altitude of almost 1,000 m. It is an intermittent rain-fed lake, largely dependent on abundant autumnal and spring rains if it is to maintain a sizeable amount of water into the hot summer months. There is an interpretation centre with displays on the lake’s geology and wildlife. There are also private initiatives promoting bird tourism.
Good food means a good mood
The Region of Aragón has inherited its rich gastronomy from the different cultures which have passed through the region over the centuries. The great geographical diversity of this region has given rise to top quality products which are as varied as the land’s geography. Aragonese cuisine is based on popular stews which vary in accordance with the area where they are prepared. Even the modernized cuisine still maintains that traditional characteristic simplicity and honesty. Aragon region is famous for the production of high-quality fruits and vegetable. Spanish people admire fruits of Aragón: pears, apples, cherries, plums, peaches with D.O. from Calanda and recently cultivated strawberries, which are as good as the best wild specimens.
Migas – You Would Not Believe What Can Be Done With Bread
Although Migas means breadcrumbs, this dish refers to the fluffy part of the bread that has had its crust removed and is then fried in olive oil with garlic, sausages, and peppers. Aragón is hardly the only region in Spain this dish calls home, but it’s here that they take migas to the next level: some people add juicy green grapes, others ask for succulent sausages on top, and still others like it with a fried egg and morcilla (blood sausage). Check out La Miguería for literally dozens of varieties to try the next time you’re passing through Zaragoza.
Longanzina – Traditional Spanish sausage of Aragón
Spain has a long and proud sausage-making tradition, and the local specialty in Aragón is called longaniza. It’s like most other Spanish embutidos in that it’s a long, slender tube filled of pork meat and various herbs and spices—all except pimentón, Spanish smoked paprika. Longaniza tastes great grilled, fried, or served on top of a bowl of migas.
Churros at La Fama Churreria – You cannot leave Spain without them
Churros are long, donut-like fried dough. There are generally two varieties in Spain: churros—skinny, crunchy treats with fluting on the sides—and porras, which are larger and spongier. The accompanying chocolate also has to be just right: sweet and thick, never runny. Thankfully, in the heart of Zaragoza’s old town there’s a place called La Fama that serves both varieties of churros, with sugar drizzled on top and alongside a quality cup of chocolate for dipping. La Fama is hardly a secret (it’s been around since 1949!), so come here early in the afternoon for a pick-me-up snack.
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