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A trip to La Rioja

A trip to La Rioja

If, or should I say when, you come to Rioja you can visit bodegas with excellent wines and beautiful design. Make your first stop in Haro along the Wine Route A-124. Haro is a classic wine town where wine has been produced since the 1400s. The city’s big boost came in the late 1800s when phylloxera ravaged the wine industry in France. Winemakers from France came to buy wine and stayed to help build the wine culture.

Around the town of Haro is more than thirty bodegas. On the way into town you pass to the left Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia. The entrance to the shop is a giant carafe. It is the famous architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the new part of the bodega. At the back you will find their Art Nouveau-inspired pavilion of the exhibition in Brussels 1910th. Our wine choice here was Viña Tondonia White Reserva. We stumbled over a little bar that appears has won several first prices for their cold tapas, just close to the big square.

Follow the A-124 to Briones. What a charming village with small streets that staggers up to the center. Here and there they sell wine from their own wine yards. We walked around the square and the church. What a cozy town with nice sculptures spread around. Just outside the city is one of Spain’s most elegant bodegas situated, Ysios, with its undulating roof. The architect Santiago Calatrava, has designed the building.

We follow the wine route eastwards and a bit outside Laguardia you will find Bodega Marques de Riscal, in the village of Elciego (Alvar). An absolutely stunning building signed architect Frank Gehry. The same man who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Titanium ceilings are flying like kites in different colors. The original bodega was built in 1858, so there is a long wine tradition that is the basis for the excellent wines they produce. Our choice here was the Marques de Riscal Reserva with mainly Tempranillo grapes.

Logroño will be the final stop for this both visual and wine inspired trip. Logroño is a major city. At the entrance is the bodega Franco-Española. Hemingway visited this bodega several times to shop for wine, so why don ́t you do the same? Buy a bottle and sit down on the Ebro river bank and enjoy the Rioja region, at least a small part of it.

For those who want to see more of Andalucia, visit www.elcastillo.eu click on Experiences and Adventures.