One of the most memorable travel experiences I have ever had came from a bottle of £3.89 Aldi wine.
It was a Saturday night and Paul and I were in our living room drinking a bottle of said wine (Toro Loco Superior if you’re interested – delicious) and discussing our upcoming trip to Spain.
We were musing on how much we wanted to stay in a wine region but having looked at the transport and accommodation options in Rioja paired with the other areas we were visiting, didn’t think it was possible. Still, we couldn’t shake off our visions of fields filled with rows of vines and filling a glass straight from the barrel.
“I’m going to look at where this wine is made and search for it online to see if there’s anywhere to stay there,” Paul announced, not expecting this to actually result in anything. The sticker on the back of the bottle said the wine was from a place called Requena, which neither of us had heard of. So we were astonished when Paul typed the destination into the Google search bar to be presented with the most spectacular looking house in an actual working vineyard. It was called La Finca Casa Nueva. And it was cheap! And there was a direct train to Requena from both Valencia and Madrid – two cities we had already planned on visiting! It felt too good to be true, like the opportunity had been placed directly into our lap. We knew we had to book it.
How glad I am we decided to buy that Aldi wine. Our stay at La Finca Casa Nueva in Requena met all our Spanish vineyard expectations and more.
We arrived in Requena via a train from Valencia. As the accommodation was quite a bit distance outside the main town of Requena, our plan was to take a taxi. But when we arrived in Requena it was siesta time – and all the taxi drivers were AWOL. After wandering around for a while, waiting for everyone to wake up and wondering what we were going to do, we eventually found a taxi driver to take us.
The taxi wound its way up the road through fields of vines towards the house which looked just as grand as it did in the picture – all white turrets and balconies. Inside the house was just as spectacular, with elaborate corniced ceilings, tiled floors and chandeliers. We had technically rented one room but as there was no one else staying there we had the entire bottom floor to ourselves.
After we arrived, we wandered around the lush grounds, past the vineyards bursting with fresh grapes and beautiful rose bushes.
The next unexpected joy of the trip was the sunset which followed. The entire sky lit up in shades or orange, pink and purple. We felt like we were on the set of a Western movie. It was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. We actually blew up the first photograph below and put it up on our living room wall.
The people who worked at the vineyard had asked us when we arrived if we wanted dinner. We said yes as there wasn’t really any other option; we would have needed to have taken a taxi back down to Requena which didn’t seem necessary. We didn’t know what to expect so we were astonished when, as night fell, they brought out a table, placed in in the middle of the gardens, set it with a tablecloth and filled it with food. They also told us our dinner (which wasn’t that expensive, around 20 euro each), came with three bottles of wine fresh from the vineyard!
As we sat in the middle of the empty garden dining by moonlight, sipping the wine which had been made from the vineyards just metres away, I once again thanked our lucky stars we had picked that bottle of Aldi wine that night.
The next day we went into Requena which, despite the fact we were more interested in the accommodation than the town itself, turned out to be really worth seeing. It was a pretty Spanish town with white buildings and narrow little lanes untouched by tourists.
But we couldn’t stay away from the vineyard for long. We headed back up, cracked open a bottle of their cava, and read a book in the gardens before spending our second and last night dining by moonlight.
One of the reasons we were so enamoured by our stay at La Finca Casa Nueva is that we never stay in luxurious places – usually it’s the cheapest airbnb or hotel we can find. So to stumble upon this and for it to actually be affordable and to exactly reflect, in fact, vastly exceed, the vision we had in our head of a vineyard stay felt like the happiest accident imaginable.
And all because of that £3.89 bottle of Aldi wine.
La Finca Casa Nueva is now more expensive than when we stayed there (still worth every penny) but two nights there at the time only cost £94.
P.S. This post has not in any way at all been sponsored by La Finca Casa Nueva. We paid for our stay there and are not being paid for this article. It was so amazing I genuinely wanted to share it.