Rioja Spanish Wine Region– All I can say is wonderful value and delicious wines.
We decided to stop through for a few days whilst driving from San Sebastian to Barcelona. The Rioja region is certainly the “sweetheart” region of Spanish red wines.
Strategically placed between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the Rioja region produces the majority of its acclaimed red wines from the Tempranillo grape in addition to growing and utilizing Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano – which are often used for blending with Tempranillo. (Viura is the dominant white grape grown in the Rioja region, but keep in mind white wine only accounts for about 10% of Rioja’s total wine production and some of the wine makers here actually prefer to produce Verdejos from Rueda). With both the Cantabria and Demanda mountain ranges adding physical protection and the river Ebro winding through the region providing both moisture and creating various microclimates within the area, this region is truly set up for winemaking success! Haro is the capital of it all but we found some of the other smaller hill towns even more interesting.
Of the larger producers, our favorites were Lopez Heredia, Muga, Roda and Rioja Alta.
For those that love Frank Gehry architecture and like the idea of staying at a luxury resort on a winery, the Marques de Riscal Hotel may be a great option for them.
Our favorite night however was visiting the most charming walled city of La Guardia and dining at the delicious and very hospitable Las Parejas. If I were to stay in the region again, I would definitely want to and will suggest my clients to consider staying here at Las Parajes in a charming medieval building – http://www.hospederiadelosparajes.com/
This exceptional place with very unique service. Pictures of the restaurant and wine cave below.
‘Asador Alameda’ (Fuenmayor), ‘Los Parajes’ (Laguardia) and ‘Héctor Oribe’ (Páganos). ‘El Portal del Echaurren´(Ezcaray) and ‘Venta Moncalvillo’ (Daroca de Rioja) are the most distinguished restaurants.