Barrel making in Rioja
Rioja Bodega Lopez
Stars of Rioja
23 - 27 September 2009
Join us as we take in an informal, yet in depth tour of this fascinating region of Northern Spain, whilst enjoying tastings with some favourite wine producers. The wines of Rioja have never been more popular, and quite rightly so!
This tour visits a selection of the star Bodegas that supply the Sunday Time Wine Club. It is open to all members of the club, which can be joined for a small fee. The Club is one of the major retailers of Rioja in the UK and you are assured of a very special welcome when you visit these Bodegas as a member of their most important customer.
The tour is based in the old town of Haro in Rioja Alta. Haro sometimes called the ‘wine capital of Rioja’. The medieval hilltop town has winding streets and alleys lined with tapas bars. We stay in a 4* hotel in a converted convent in the centre of the town.
Haro does indeed have the largest concentration of large bodegas in the region. Some of these are up in the town but the famous old traditional bodegas CVNE, Muga, La Rioja Alta and Lopez de Heredia are in the valley below. There will be the oportunity to explore Haro throughout the tour and there will also be visits to the towns of Logroño and Laguardia.
We start our tour with a visit and tasting lunch at the welcoming Bodegas Viña Izadi, whose wines feature in the Fine Wine Selections of the Club. These are fine elegant wines typical of the Rioja Alavesa sub region.
We visit the masters of modern Rioja, Martinez-Bujanda. Their wines have won a raft of awards, including the prestigious ‘Best Bodega’ award…twice! Here we shall not only enjoy an extensive tasting over lunch and a visit to the cellars, but will gain a valuable insight into how these very special wines are created, from vine to cask to glass.
At Bodegas Primicia where we taste wines ranging from good and easy drinking to superb. range of wines over a traditional Riojan lunch. In the afternoon we have a visit to the hill town of Laguardia. We will also see the extraordinary titanium roofs of Bodegas Ysios, echoing the peaks of the Sierra Cantabria above them.
On the last day our visit is to the impressive estate of Baron de Ley, where this renovated monastery houses an incredibly modern winery. This winery has enjoyed a great success recently. Indeed at the end of 2004 it was presented with the ‘Spanish Wine Producer of the Year’ award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. They are almost certainly the star winery of the Rioja Baja region. Their wines are rich and powerful, yet focused rather than flabby, and with fine oak showing. This will be a superb visit and tasting accompanied by a wonderful Riojan lunch.
We end the trip in Bilbao and have the opportunity to visit the world famous Guggenheim museum. With its titanium frame and fascinating curved form it has become an icon of modern architecture. The museum’s contents have gained both passionate devotees and damning detractors. The Guggenheim then, is a ‘must see!’
A fitting end to a wonderful tour!
The Wine Guide is Cindy-Marie Harvey