Fall Wine Routes: Rioja, Spain

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Rioja is an amazing destination for a fall trip for wine lovers! Culture and wine together make an unbeatable combination. In Rioja you’ll find many things to see and do. Mediterranean forests, high-mountain areas, Sierra de Cebollera Nature Reserve and the Arnedillo Biosphere Reserve. More so, for wine lovers, it is a true paradise.

 One of only two of the highest quality wine-producing regions in Spain, Rioja has been on the eno-gastronomic scene for decades. Tourists and visitors come for many reasons. Tasting your way through rioja is one of the best ones!

Here, the red tempranillo grape is king and there is also a strong presence of garnacha. Coming in the fall means that travelers can explore this special region without the summer heat. The wonderful thing about wine regions is that they never stop moving even when the tourist season slows down.

Over the past month, we’ve shared some of these special places with you. This week, we finish up with Rioja!

Getting to know Rioja

Rioja is a 93 mile stretch from west to east along the Ebro river. The region is best visited by car. This gives you the freedom to explore at your leisure the region’s seven river valleys. You can also explore the hilltop towns set against two mountain ranges. Another highlight is the award-winning architecture and ancient monasteries straddling the Camino de Santiago pilgrims’ trail.

The region is small enough that it is easy to get to charming villages off the beaten track. For example, Labraza, in the far east of Rioja Alavesa.

Heading west, Sajazarra has a beautifully preserved castle and is among the prettiest villages in Spain. In 1899, the remains of its medieval walls were witness to the first outbreak of phylloxera in Rioja, in a local vineyard.

This area of Spain has over 500 wineries and is internationally famous for the quality of its wines. As well as wine tasting, a visit to this region also offers a range of activities which take place in and around the extensive vineyards. For example, horseback riding and hot-air ballooning.

Apart from its capital, Logroño, you’ll be able to explore other places such as Santo Domingo de la Calzada and its cathedral, San Millán de la Cogolla, site of the Suso and Yuso monasteries, declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. They are also known for being the birthplace of the first written words in the Spanish language.

Tailor made tours

Private wine tour and tasting

This tour is perfect for lovers of single-vineyard wines and connoisseurs with an interest in the vineyard itself and its growing process.

You will explore 3 of our region’s best vineyards and taste their wines while you walk among the vines, learning about the land and what makes each variety so special. Historically the cellars in La Rioja and the vineyards are separate entities and the wine that is produced is done so with grapes from several different vineyards. On this private wine tour in Rioja, you will only experience wines produced with grapes from exclusive vineyards that capture the essence of the Rioja terroir.

You will have 8 hours to get to know La Rioja and visit the vineyards and cellars. At each of them, you will taste wines that share a common philosophy in their fabrication but still maintain their own distinct personality.

The vineyards are nestled between 2 mountain ranges: Sierra de la Demanda and Sierra de Cantabria and this setting and climate gives our wine a rare and exceptional quality.

Architecture tour of Rioja

La Rioja is internationally famous region for its acclaimed wines and gastronomy. It is now emerging as a capital of avant-garde winery architecture

Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Philippe Mazierres four giants of modern architecture and all with iconic masterpieces in Rioja. This tour combines an opportunity to see how the landscapes of Rioja embrace the brilliance of their concepts. It is also how to experience the genius of Rioja itself. The sensational food, said to be the best in Spain, and its wine.

Given Rioja’s roots in medieval history, and its rustic landscape, it’s interesting that it is emerging as a capital of avant garde winery architecture. Wineries in Rioja have been designed by innovative, international architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava and Zaha Hadid.

The trend toward cutting edge architectural design really started a little to the north of Rioja in Bilbao. Here, Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum has put that city on the architectural map.

The funky architecture is not limited to wineries. The distinctive work of Spaniard Santiago Calatrava can be seen in the Bodegas Ysios winery in Laguardia. Also, at the Sondica Airport and Campo Volantin footbridge in nearby Bilbao.

This is a tour for wine and architecture lovers alike!

Our favorite hotel

Hotel Marques de Riscal is our choice for a place to stay in the area. It is a masterpiece created by Frank Gehry. Gehry’s personal and exclusive design, characterized by its forms, colors, and materials, offers an authentic avant-garde vision. The hotel has 61 luxury rooms and suites, each unique in their shapes and views. Michelin-starred gastronomy, the oldest winery in Rioja, and a wonderful spa all contribute to vivid sensations that the traveler will treasure forever.

Fall wine routes, tailor made

Rioja is a great choice for a tailor made wine lover’s vacation.

We can add or tailor anything you wish in this trip. We hope we gave some travel inspiration for wine lovers – we cannot wait to show you what we can do in Spain!

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