From the stunning, monumental scenary of O Barco de Valdeorras, we move on to the locality of A Rúa, where most of the wineries for this designation are located.
Grape vines are at home in its red clay soil. Slate not only adorns the roofs of traditional buildings, but also makes a soil suitable for maturing grapes. These grapes – converted into wine – go to sleep underground, in the same caves that the Romans dug centuries ago in their search for gold.
We suggest a route through the region and valley of Valdeorras, shaped by the passage of the River Sil between mountains. The town of O Barco de Valdeorras is a strategic point from which to explore the area. We recommend that you arrive at your chosen accommodation in the early afternoon. The hotel offer is varied, both in the town itself as well as in its parishes.
Hotels, houses and pazos retain pieces of the mediaeval history of this city, and hence are worth a visit. This is the case of the Pazo dos Flórez or Pazo do Castro, converted into a hotel. It is located in a place called “Vila do Castro”, five minutes from the centre, in the upper part of O Barco de Valdeorras. This spot offers a wide view of the plain on which this large town sits. In 1630, Don Pedro Quiroga Losada had it built to found his estate, which could subsequently, by law, be inherited exclusively by the first son of each successive generartion.
Its original appearance – different to the rest of the Galician pazos – is eye-catching. We are received by its façade comprising six arches made of local red stone over a large covered porch and its slate roofs, a hallmark of the region, whose economy revolves around its mining. Declared an historical/artistic building together with its chapel, it has been refitted as a four-star monument/hotel. The interior retains its original furniture, decor and artwork. Poke around a bit and you’ll find a palleira (haystack) attached to a small museum of carriages and riding equipment.
If you’ve arrived early, you can take good advantage of your time and add a little afternoon relaxation in the pazo’s spa. Wraps or massages with oils extracted from grapes are some of the wine-therapy treatments that are included in the offer of the wide world of wine and its culture.
For dinner, the options are extensive. When looking at the menu, remember the saying common here: “From the sea, grouper fish; from O Barco, the botelo (a pig-slaughter dish)”. Botelo is a product of a pig slaughter, a real delight for the palate. Other well-known local products include chestnuts – which have a place of honour in current Valdeorras cuisine – along with the great variety of mushrooms from its mountains. The glass will be a perfect fit for either a red Mencia or a white Godello of the Valdeorras Designation of Origin.
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