"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."
The origins of the "Addictive" Santiago Trail are religious, but the reasons for doing the trail have mulitipied - drinking great wine is one of those reasons.Our last stretch of the trail just happened to be through the Rioja region of Spain. Rioja is the most famous wine region in Spain and outside the country. Therefore, following scripture - and good taste - we decided to try as many glasses (and bottles) as possible.
We crossed the Rioja region at the end of the harvest season. There were tons of sweet grapes for us to pick and eat as we went along. However, it became harder and harder to bear the sight of so many grapes going to waste. The wine growers have limits and they are punished if they pick too much. This means that on most years there are tons of grapes that just rot. Prices are kept up, but my heart sinks at the sight.
We finished our trip the Rioja region by visiting a local monestary with beautiful Romanesque architecture and details. One of the stone carvings around the door depicts a vinyard with a man, lying under the vines, sucking every drop out of the grapes! The head is upside-down, but you might guess from the eyes that it is none other than...me!