Over the years we have learned that it is in our best interests not to plan too much to do. We aren’t getting any younger, and we need some “quiet” time to rest and relax. Ergo we build some days into our trips where we don’t have much to do. Today was one of those days. The only thing on our agenda on this day was a scenic trip to a winery high up into the mountains.
Trip to the Winery
After a nice breakfast on the patio of the hotel, overlooking the Mediterranean on a sunny morning, we meet up with our driver and head out. We headed to the Bodegas Bentomiz Winery near Sayalonga, high in the mountains in Axarquia. It is about a 45 minute drive from Nerja to the winery. Most of the trip is on narrow, winding mountain roads. Along the way we passed several quiet, whitewashed mountain villages. It almost felt like time had stopped in these small communities; slow, peaceful and unassuming.
Arriving at the winery, we met Rose, an English expat who has lived in this region for over 14 years, and now works in the winery. She explained the origins of the winery to us. Back in 1995, a Dutch couple decided to make a lifestyle change and move from the Netherlands to the warm climate of Spain. Buying property in this area, they discovered that the property had grape vines still on it from plantings many years ago. The couple, being wine lovers, decided initially to create a “garage” wine as a hobby. The result was so delicious that in 2003 they expanded their operation and began selling their product.
Their line is now the Ariyanas wine. Most of these wines are made from the Moscatel de Alejandria grape, which thrives in the arid climate of the Axarquia region, particularly in the higher elevations. Unfortunately, due to the elevation, the grapes are difficult to harvest and process into wine. The wines from this grape are typically very sweet. Personally, I’m not a fan of sweet wines, but these wines are sweet without being syrupy, so sweet but not heavy on the palate.
Rose explained that as the winery expanded, they built a facility to not only create the wine, but also take advantage of the wine tourism boom that was exploding in the industry. They created a modern building for tastings, but also harmonizes with the mountain landscape.
Unfortunately the kitchen was not open on this day, so we were unable to have lunch. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time exploring the winery, tasting the wine, and talking with Rose.
After the Wine Tour
Once the tour was over, we headed back down the mountain to the seaside town of Nerja. The rest of the day, DJ and I relaxed on the terrace, enjoying the scenic beauty of Costa del Sol. This was our last full day in Nerja, for tomorrow we were heading to Sevilla.