The estate is so worth the journey. Its a couple of hours by car from Madrid, perhaps easier to get to Salamanca by train and then take a taxi to the Zorita Wine Hotel and Wine Spa. You are guarenteed a restful stay and being just outside UNESCO Heritage rated Salamnca and its baroque central square nightlife is on the doorstep if a day of resting by the pool or endulging in a range of spa treatments doesnt make you too relaxed.
I loved the place from first walking down a rose lined pathway at the side of the main hotel block to our rooms ‘to the side’ each with a private little courtyard, through to the massive barrel room with tasting room in a balcony above. I saw my stork. Nesting on an old chapel tower in another of those precariously balanced nests. The bulk of the buildings date back to a Dominican estate founded in 1366. It was the Order’s farm and a “casa hospitalaria”. Apparently one Chistopher Columbus stayed here. Old Chris had taste obviously.
If you’re into wine, you should know that this is the gateway to the Tierra del Pan y del Vino, the land of bread and wine. Vines have been growing here since 1366. This is also Spain’s first small luxury wine · hotel … we didn’t invent this place — we just found it.
No wine is actually made at the Hotel and Spa; although you can taste and visit the cavenous barrel room with a roof resembling a boats hull (echoes of Columbus). The actual winery is located further out – but you can stay there in two luxurious villas surrounded by 70 hectares of vineyards. Each villa has five bedrooms. A visit to the top of the tower is recommended for the views across the vines. If you ask nicely a visit to the winery proper is possible, if lady luck shines you might get to see the bottling line in full flow. Oh joyous times.
Photo Gallery: Hacienda Zorita Winery Hotel and Spa
But there is more! Zorita maintains an organic farm which you can visit. Taste their fabulous cheeses. Dunk a strawberry in a range of balsamic vinegars. And if you don’t end up with your suitcase bursting with the best Jamón ibérico snuggled up to a few bottles of their wine I’ll be hugely surprised. ‘Cause I did.
Home to the near extinct Verata goats as well as the wooly Mangalica pigs, which are the only central European cousins of our Iberico “pata negra” pigs. They live together, in perfect harmony, with the indigenous black-eyed Churra sheep and the lazy African water Buffalas, whose milk is used to make the world famous Mozzarella cheese. Let’s not forget to mention the impressive bullfighting bulls, which our neighbour Spanish “matador” El Niño de la Capea raises right next door… Zorita Oraganic Farm
My pick of the wines include the Marques de la Concordia Rioja Reserva (also available from Majestic) smashingly drinkable but worth a place in the cellar. Also the Hacienda Zorita Tempranillo (Majestic) with its oaky, strawberry and spice palate.
The MM Cava’s, delicious to a man… or rather a bottle… are available from Amazon. Thank the lordy for that! They come in cases of three bottles and are in the £30 range; so about £10 a bottle. Bargain.