La Rioja Wineries

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March 29th 2018
Published: April 4th 2018
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A beautiful, warm day (well relatively - 19) for our (self drive) winery tour in La Rioja (with Kate, because it's a public holiday in Spain). And she changed the sat nav to English, always helps!

Headed first to a town called Haro (about an hour northwest of Calahorra) where there are lots of wineries. We had appointments for a tour and tasting at one winery and a tasting at another (have to make appointments and pay, can't just walk in and taste). The first was CVNE, (also known as CUNE because of a printing error way back when) which was established in 1879, and is a family owned and run winery. We had a most interesting tour (even though I struggled with the accent) and then tasted 2 wines - red - were ok. Then a little drive around Haro (always fun driving through towns with narrow streets, especially when some are closed for Easter celebrations), before our second tasting. This appeared to be another older winery, but the tasting room was ultra modern, with an old fashioned bar - quite strange really. Again, 2 reds, these weren't even ok, pretty awful really (yes, I did know before I came that La Rioja is known for red wines not white).

Then it was time for lunch, Kate had suggested we find somewhere with a "Menu of the Day" - 3 courses (often including drinks) for a fixed price, which is what is usually done in Spain for lunch - what they consider to be the main meal of the day. So luckily, while we were at one of the wineries, someone left a brochure for a restaurant that did exactly that on the windscreen of the car. Off we went!

Had a 3 courses, we were all full - don't know how they do that every day.

Then we had to drive back towards Calahorra to the Marques de Riscal winery - this one a huge commercial operation, where we were also booked in for a tour and tasting. There were about 30 people on the 4pm English tour! Again, very interesting. The place also has an unusual hotel on site! Then the tasting - finally a white, that was quite nice, and a red that was not! And then, exit through the (very large) shop!

Back to Calahorra, where the plan was to have pinchos for dinner at one of Kate's usual places - 2 problems, they were all full, apparently because it was a public holiday, and we were all still full from lunch. Lucky we had some in San Sebastian.

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