Enthralling views of our Conde de los Andes vineyard
Mountain trails to experience our vineyards from above
Dawn breaks behind the Toloño mountain range as our footprints move on towards the summit of San Cristóbal peak. The slope is steep and every metre is a struggle, but we sense that we are very close to our ultimate reward.
An hour and a half earlier we parked the car in the village of Salinillas de Buradón. Along a path with the yellow Camino de Santiago signs, we began our trek up the hill. The Atlantic influence is noticeable in the oak and beech trees around us. The path becomes steeper and the slope leads us to Tabuérniga, a crossroads with some ruins that reveal the presence of an ancient village. We head west towards San Cristóbal, at 885 metres elevation.
Upon reaching the top of the mountain, a wonderful surprise awaits us: down below, in the valleys, lie the Briñas vineyards, where the grapes for our Conde de los Andes wines come from.
It's virtually impossible to look away —the view is enthralling as the old vineyard plots create a beautiful mosaic that stretches all the way down to the Ebro River.
For us, this is a novel perspective. We had never seen the vineyard from such a high point. Moreover, having hiked up from Salinillas along the shady paths of the mountains, we experienced a striking natural contrast: on the north side, the humid mountains; down below us, the southern slopes, with its vineyards and Mediterranean climate. A truly fascinating glimpse of the Rioja landscape!
The off-piste alternative
Fancy a more rugged route? San Cristóbal can be reached from the southern slope, from the last vineyards in the valley, taking narrow paths up the steep climb. These trails, used by roe deer, hares and wild boar, are hidden by scrubland and there are sections where the ascent seems impossible. We have to find our way through the thorny leaves of the kermes oak, increasing the difficulty of this demanding route.
For adventurous climbers, this trek is an unforgettable experience. And the breathtaking views from the top are even more impressive. The surroundings of the Conde de los Andes vineyard, unique and unparalleled, will never cease to amaze us.
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