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Go Rioja or Go Home

Posted by on June 19, 2012

And so it was off for wine tasting, badly needed after our week in School!. Our first stop was in a little town called Haro which is entirely devoted to the wine trade, plus the night we were there it was also devoted to Soccer, unfortunately for us,( Espana V Irlanda in Euro 2012) but we joined in with our fellow Irish supporters in Poland and had to sample a few vinos due to the night that it was, couldn’t resist a pincho and vino for €1.  As we were the only two Irish supporters in the bar and possibly the whole town, they took pity on us and offered us free vino to bear the burden of our defeat!.Very novel to watch the match through Spanish and we were trying to pick up on as many new words and phrases as possible, we did’nt do too bad .  Sadly can’t say the same for the Irish team.

Merv's Mecca

Renaissance church of Santo Tomas through the narrow street of Haro

Haro has some very novel statues dotted around the town, all relating to the traditional skills that would have been found in the town over the years.

'the hat' at work


I guess this man hard at work would have been called a 'Cooper'

We visited the Museo de la Cultura del Vino which is the best single visit for anyone interested in Rioja wine with its impressive museum at the Dinastia Vivanco family bodega.  It covers every aspect of wine production that anyone would need to know, plus at the end it has its ‘tasting bar’, Merv was in his element being a Rioja lover.

how to shoot a postcard

Giant Grape Press

small grape press

The Good Stuff

Nine years ago we visited a lovely little town in this area called LaGuardia, so we went back for another visit.  Its a lovely little spot stretching along the crest of a low ridge overlooking the vineyards and what is super it is still surrounded by its medieval walls. We spent a night here, parked up by the city walls , overlooking the view below us and strolled into the town late in the evening for a few glasses of vino, here only 60 cent a glass.  It was such a lovely warm balmy evening all the locals  were sitting outside on the little cobbled streets, chatting and having fun, a very friendly and picturesque place indeed.   The next morning it was equally as beautiful with the sun beaming down on the cobbles, people drinking coffee and doing their shopping.!

Bodegas Ysios designed by Santiago Calatrava who also designed Bilbao Airport

Happy Shoppers examining their purchases

When we were in this area before we bought some lovely Reserva in a bodega called Heredad Ugarte, so back we went for a few more bottles, not sure just how long they will last in the Mog if Merv has his way.   They certainly won’t make their way back to Straffan.



One Response to Go Rioja or Go Home

  1. wastedwords

    Well Sarah, looks like he’s leaving you to do all the scribing again whilst he samples the delights of the local plonk – sorry vino! Now we all know Merv would drink ” whatever” off a scabby leg so going back to a vineyard after nine years to purchase similar product comes as a bit of a shock!
    However, the area you describe does seem idealic as the pics confirm. The wine presses are brilliant. Seen some similar in Dorset only they were for pressing apples to make cider and were still being used by two brothers making the local hooch – not quite Riojo but had the makings of a damn fine headache all the same. ( they doubled up as undertakers by the way, seriously no shit!)
    Your ” happy shoppers” looked a bit serious to me, in fact the fella looked a bit like an overweight idiot abroad!
    Oh yeh, and then there’s “the hat”. ‘Nough said ………

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