Super fun day wine tasting in the Rioja. Before traveling we had talked with the concierge about the best spot to go, and he suggested the town of Haro, which has several great tasting rooms along one street (similar to Woodinville), so we hired a driver to take us to/from so we could all drink with abandon, and that we did.
First stop at 10:30am was La Rioja de Alta – Instead of paying for a flight of wines here to taste, you simply choose whichever you’d like to taste at around $1.50-2.00/pour.
We started with a albarino from Galicia, fresh & crisp before moving on to the traditional reds from the area. BK even went all in from the start, asking for a taste of the 2001 Gran Reserva – all were delicious. (don’t miss my blog post about the special opener she used on the Gran Reserva, very cool)
Next stop was what some folks were calling a more modern winery in the area, Roda. We stuck with the reds here, and got to enjoy a stroll down into their cave while she poured our first round. These were all nice & fruity, the first glass local grape, and the second round from the Ribera del Duero region.
This winery also makes some yummy olive oil – we preferred the Dauro 🙂
Our third stop was , Lopez de Heredia, which consistently was the top winery each person we asked told us to go. Their tasting room looks like a decanter from the outside, and is light and airy inside.
The cool thing here was they have a very limited sample – they have a main red and main white, and a couple other varieties and that’s it. Even more amazing, each of their main wines is just $22 each.
First we sampled the Vina Tondonia Blanco reserva 2001 – yeah, a 2001 white wine you read that correctly. totally different from any other white I’ve had. They make their whites the same way they make their reds, and the whites can keep 30-40 years. Whoa. The reds have been made the same way since their founding in 1877, we sampled a 2003.
Next stop was Gomez Cruzado, where they actually did offer a tasting flight more like we’re used to – tried 4 wines here, really enjoyed the look of their space.
Check out their cool fermenting tanks – I’ve never seen them egg-shaped before:
Our last stop was supposed to be Muga, one of the larger producers in the are, but they were unfortunately closed for a couple days. Instead we popped across the street to Cune which was a very rushed visit as they were about to receive a large group. She quickly ushered us into a white room and gave us each a quit taste of their Rosado before rushing us back out. Bummer, because it was a big cool space that would have been nice to explore.
On the way home our driver stopped at a small winery up on a hill that was closed but had great views to snap a couple pictures, as well as in a small town that has only 900 residents but 200 wineries!