From the details of the bodega wine tours, where to stay, how to get there, and what I wish I should of done- this post is for all the wine-lovers!
Getting to La Rioja
I definitely recommend renting a car to all of your La Rioja excursions that way you have the freedom to go to the winery of your choice (no matter how rural it is) at whatever time (drink responsibly though!). You could also try catching a train or bus to Logroño and then renting the car there- both are great options!
Where to Stay
I decided to opt out on a more rural and relaxing accommodation and stayed at a bed and breakfast in the mountains of La Rioja. Isolated and with no cellphone coverage (yeah I know a bit crazy- but for one night it was actually refreshing!), It was an exciting and different experience compared to staying at your traditional hotel. Another option for a La Rioja trip would be to stay in Logroño city center and visit the wineries while also seeing the capital of the La Rioja region.
Designed in 2001, this winery has redefined the limits and design of a Spanish bodega. The architecture resembles the ocean and the mountains that cover the background of the grounds, all gorgeously situated in a tiny little pueblo 15 minutes away from Logroño center.
I personally loved this winery because although not a lot of people have heard about Ysios, it captures your attention with all its elegance and modernity. Only producing 30,000 bottles each year (and only 2% shipped outside of Spain), the exclusive brand only makes two types of reservas every year. As you can imagine, the quality of the wine is incomparable compared to your typical wine at a grocery or even wine store. During the wine tasting part of the tour, you try out their two types of reservas, one which is valued at (definitely on the pricey side in Spain- where a good bottle is ), and the other one is valued at 60€….so you know that for the price of the tour you get an extremely great deal. During the tasting they also offer charcuterie and bread crisps to cleanse your palette in between the tastings.
I’d definitely rate this winery a 4.5/5. Beautiful bodega, friendly staff, creative marketing, and amazing, exquisite wine…..what more could a wine lover want?
Camino de la Hoya, s/n
Guardia, Araba, Spain
Bodega Marques de Riscal
This equally glorious winery has all the bells and whistles….and shall I say more. Although it’s known to be a traditional rioja, upon stepping onto the premises of the winery you’d think I’d be lying when I told you it’s a Spanish red “de toda la vida.”
Designed by Frank Gehry, the same architect who designed the incredible Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the building sparkles in the small town and shows off its titanium curves. The winery is also a five star hotel and belongs to the Starwood Hotels and Resorts chain. The tour was about 1.5 hours long, and although a bit commercialized than Ysios, it did give an interactive video on how their wine is made (something that I need for a visual person like me!). We tasted two of their numerous wines, a red reserva and a white. Although I personally did like the tour, appreciate the breathtaking winery, and loved the Marques de Riscal “vault” (which had exclusive wines from the 1800s!!), I was a bit thrown off by the selection of wines they had us try. Since this winery is a lot bigger than the first one we visited, we noticed the “commercialized” aspect of it since the wine they selected was just OK. Nevertheless however, I ended up still loving the experience and would definitely take back friends and family in the future.
Overall rating: 4/5. Beautiful winery, great tour, but a little commercialized. Still worth going!
If you’re ever in Logroño, I definitely recommend making a (half of a) day trip to see these two wineries and all they have to offer. They are only 10 minutes away from each other so if you go to one, you have to go to the other!
Bodega Marques de Riscal
Calle Torrea, 1
Elciego, Alava, Araba, Spain