A favourite for Costa summer day trippers, the ancient citadel of Ronda, found atop a precipitous outcrop of rock, known as the Tajo, has many secrets to offer the visitor who wishes to look beyond the gift shops.
I’m preparing a travel piece on Ronda wines, so on Friday evening we had the privilege of visiting the stunning winery, ‘Descalzos Viejos’. Co founder of the bodega, Flavio Salesi was out guide and mentor for this fascinating tour and tasting.
Suffice to say the wines from this tiny winery of just 6 hectares are world class and display the distinctive, robust intensity of a fine Ronda wines. It is simply the physical restraints of production that limit access to these exclusive wines rather than the desire of people to import them around the world.
The setting could not be more seductive; a sixteenth century monastery for the Barefoot Monks of Ronda, whose long since moved to a new home in the city of Ronda (hence the name of the bodega). The wines are made and matured is the original church, now conserved with a new roof, and the remaining ancient frescos protected. It’s a remarkable sight to see the large modern day equipment of contemporary wine making sitting in this ecclesiastical setting, with French oak barrel stacked where once the alter would have been.
The founders are a doctor and an architect, the conservation of this ancient part of Ronda’s history has been both sympathetic and original. The influence of the property’s Islamic past, including irrigation system, together with the later 15th and 16th century Catholic architecture makes this a remarkable place, ticked away, and sheltered by Ronda’s extraordinary natural monument, the Tajo.