Wineries in the rocks of Borja
Borja is a small town in the province of Zaragoza with a huge wine tradition. The difference with other areas of vineyards lies in the peculiarity of its first winery, built centuries ago in the rock of the hills. 19th-century Borjan traders served from within the mountain and their offices were converted over time into family residences and holiday homes.
In any case, wine remains a benchmark in the Campo de Borja region and the Moncayo, its neighbour. It is true that a few months ago the region’s, and the world’s, attention was drawn to the controversial restoration of the church’s Ecce Homo by a lady with the priest’s agreement. However, the world forgot the painting in just two weeks and the town returned to its routine of silence and rolling vineyards.
Aside from Ecce Homo, Borja and other outlying villages such as Albeta, Bulbuente and Magallon are consolidated as wine denominations of origin. The Grenache route has functioned for some years now and offers an extensive range of wine bars and restaurants the length and breadth of western Aragon. On internet appear beautiful prints of the snowy peaks of the Montcayo in the clear morning and evening, a playful ecosystem’s poetry.
A must-see is the hill of La Corona in Borja, one of three that surround the town. Tens of cave houses, former cellars, appear among the rocks. The neighbours have renovated them and each one now reflects the whim of its owner. The complex is a worthwhile visit and the view from the top of the hill is wonderful.
The region’s wine museum, based in the Cistercian monastery of Veruela, is another must-see, a perfect opportunity to learn the secrets of the wine from Campo de Borja. From the entrance you can see the orange peaks of the Moncayo, with the afternoon mist or snow dominating the slopes, depending on the time of year.
Borja is more than the Ecce Homo, but even now takes advantage of the world renown with which the restoration provided it. So much so that a British airline offers low-cost flights to Zaragoza to visit the painting; why not take advantage at the same time to get lost among vineyards?
Photos: (1, 2, 3) Ramiro Tarazona, (4) Roberto Regueiro
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