Rioja is a community in the North of Spain and to the South of Bilbao, situated between the river Oja and the river Ebro. The region is divided into three distinct areas: Rioja Alavesa in the North, the mountainous region of Rioja Alta to the South (both around 400-500m below sea level) and the Rioja Baja (around 300m below sea level), which borders Navarre to the East.
Traditionally, la Rioja has been known for its well-bodied, oaky red wines but with changing tastes and growing competition from wines from the West, wine producers have decided to modernise and incorporate more fresh fruit tastes into their produce. This has resulted in a booming export market, particularly in terms of wine exports to the UK.
Oenology in la Rioja is still a relatively new phenomenon, despite the popularity of wine abroad. Below we have listed a selection of wine tours of varying durations, starting and finishing in Bilbao or Madrid.
- VIP wine tasting tours in La Rioja.
- Visit to the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and to the biggest wine museum in Europe.
- Gourmet Basque cuisine and Riojano to eat.
La Rioja is without doubt the most beautiful wine region in Spain, and a real treat for lovers of food and wine. The landscapes consist of beautiful hills adorned with rolling wine fields and medieval hamlets, surrounded by the majestic Cantabrian Mountains.
La Rioja is a perfect example of a preserved and unspoilt wilderness, even taking in to account all the major investment that has been applied to the region in recent years, including the spectacularly designed hotel by Frank Gehry in the Marques de Riscal winery. The idea behind this luxury wine tasting weekend in La Rioja was conceived to give you the chance to discover the best that La Rioja has to offer – the leading selection of wines in the region, the best restaurants, the most beautiful panoramic roadways and the most picturesque towns.
The wines of La Rioja are legendary, and you will taste some magnificent wines over the course of the weekend, including such high quality classic wines as Torre Muga, Sierra Cantabria and Finca El Bosque to contemporary masterpieces such as Dalmau Marques de Murrieta, Artadi de Pago Viejos, Ramon Bilbao Mirto and Trasnocho Remirez from Ganuza.
You will be visiting a range of wine cellars; including some more traditional, family-run wine cellars (known as “Calaos”) as well as some more prestigious wine caves such as in Roda (where they also have a selection of superb olive oils which you will have the chance to taste). Not forgetting some truly memorable combined restaurant dining experiences, from comfortable and authentic cuisine in Riojano to creative and innovate Basque cuisine elsewhere. This weekend, you’ll be able to choose from such traditional dishes as “Gallina en una pepitoria la Riojana” (“Chicken fricassee in La Rioja”, a colonial recipe, consisting of slowly cooked chicken in a white wine Rioja sauce), “Perdiz asada al Rioja Tinto” (“Roast partridge with Rioja red wine”, roast partridge cooked in Spanish brandy before being cooked in wine) and “Patatas a la Riojana” (“Rioja Potatoes”, cooked potatoes with delicious rural chorizo, paprika and hot pepper “guindilla” chilli).