Full Day Customized Wine Tour of La Rioja
Today you will enjoy a specially designed wine tour. After visits to many wineries in the region, please find below our preferred choices for you, although content may need to be adjusted pending availability of each winery experts on your chosen date.
You will be picked up by your wine guide / driver.
Head to La Rioja’s traditional wine capital Haro. Your first winery of the day is one of the historical wineries in Rioja, dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century. It has remained in the same family throughout many generations with Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia and his sons and daughters currently steering it successfully into the 21st century. Astonishingly, as you will see, the family absolutely insists onand firmly believes in employing traditional methods in all facets of the wine making, including their very own in-house cobblers or barrel makers – a sight to behold! Indeed, tradition oozes from every nook and cranny here… very unique in every way. And who’s to blame them, their trademark wine, the famous Viña Tondonia, has an avid base not only in Spain but worldwide, and it remains one of the few wineries still producing aged white wines. The tour takes you through a labyrinth of underground caves excavated in the rock, home to more than 15000 oak barrels used for ageing their wines. A fascinating visit which culminates in the stunning new reception area, where you can enjoy a short tasting of two of its most emblematic wines.
Following the Lopez de Heredia, it is time for a complete contrast and an opportunity for you to experience contemporary trends in La RIoja, not just in wine making but also architectonically.
You will continue to one of Spain’s most modern and innovative wineries, Ysios. Designed by the Spanish architect, Santiago de Calatrava, the winery takes the form of an extraordinary, curving and rippling shape, not untypical of Calatrava’s other projects but viewed in the reflection of the water moat that runs astride it, one can see the shape of six barrels sitting against the backdrop of the wavy Cantabrian mountains.
Your guide will take you though all the processes including the carefully monitored stainless steel tanks whose temperature is controlled by a constant stream of water bathing the exterior of each.
As for the end product (lest us not forget!), the wine, judge for yourself in the magnificent tasting room overlooking the vineyards.
Following Ysios, it is time for lunch in either one of the nearby traditional restaurants or, at the restaurant at the other masterpiece of architecture; Frank Gehry’s newly designed Marques de Riscal winery.
After lunch, enjoy a short stroll around Laguardia, one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in Spain, a medieval hill hamlet (called "villa" in Spanish), reminiscent of Tuscan hilltop villages. It is surrounded by an ancient wall, and has a delightful jumble of cobble stoned streets lined with "Tabernas", wine shops, palaces, and cafes.
It is also home to the third and final winery visit of the day at the Bodegas El Fabulista de Laguardia, a subterranean wine cellar six meters beneath the historic home of Félix María Sánchez Samaniego, the famous Spanish fable writer.
And at times, you’ll think the El Fabulista is part of a fable. Its two large vats in the entrance are not for decoration. It is here that every year, all the grape harvest is trodden and crushed under feet. Article and photos.
Heading down the narrow stairs underground, visit the caves used for fermentation and processing of the wine. Finally, enjoy a final tasting of the young reds produced here, in the good company of one of the family owners or the winery manager.
At the end of the afternoon, head back to your hotel.