Matias Costa for The New York Times
By SARAH WILDMAN
Published: August 26, 2007
FOR over 50 years all this was in ruins,” said José Luis Cuerda, hands spread, nodding toward a mountainside covered with terraced rows of young winding vines and the massive stone home behind us, his adopted Galician sliver of Spain. Stretched out before him now, spilling from lush terraces, were fledgling plants: albariño, treixadura, godello, torrontés, loureira. These are grape varietals native to the Ribeiro, a region of broad valleys near Ourense, the capital of the province of the same name.
“Wine is bottled time,” he mused at one point. “It is a whole year encapsulated in a bottle. And that has something similar to the cinema, which is also a simulation of bottled time.”
“They are announcing a death in the town,” Mr. Cuerda said. “The sound is different for a death.”
Mr. Cuerda took my notebook and wrote in Spanish: “The most important restaurant in the city of Ourense is San Miguel. The most important restaurant in the province is A Rexidora, in Bentraces. It has one Michelin star.”
Galician white wines — including those from the Ribeiro (http://www.ribeiro.es/), where the Spanish film director and producer José Luis Cuerda has his vineyards (e-mail: email@example.com) — are developing an international market.
One-hour flights from Madrid to Vigo (on Iberia) and Santiago de Compostela (Iberia or Vueling) can be as low as 50 euros round trip. Both cities are about an hour’s drive from the Ribeiro, while Madrid is about five hours.
An Internet search for round-trip flights from New York to Madrid in mid-September found fares starting at $592, on Delta.
We anchored our trip by sleeping in historic places: from the former Monasterio de San Clodio, which lends its name to Mr. Cuerda’s wines, to the country estates called pazos, many of them former homes of parish priests, now loosely linked in a web of historic inns called Pazos de Galicia (http://www.pazosdegalicia.com/).
SARAH WILDMAN writes regularly about Europe for the Travel section.