Explore one of the classic old world wine regions with our recommended self-drive tour that will take you through this great region visiting the quality wine estates and taking in the fantastic Riojan landscape and flavours.
Mulberry Travel can make all the arrangements including; return flights, hotels, transfers, car hire, wine estate tour bookings and restaurant reservations.
Explore the best this region has to offer in our interactive box below.[/jbox]
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See our suggested itinerary following your arrival into the region via Bilbao or Zaragoza airports.
Schedules can of course be fully tailored to your individual needs or preferences of areas or wine estates you wish to visit.[/jbox]
Days 1-3 ::
The capital of La Rioja and home to some of the best tapas bars in Spain.
Our choice of modern hotel in Logrono provides an excellent base to explore this small city and the nearby Riojan villages of Laserna, Laguardia & Eltziego.
We will arrange several tastings throughout the area, including our suggested bodegas below, leaving you with plenty of time for a leisurely lunch or wander around the picturesque medieval villages.
Days 4-5 ::
A stop in Samaniego, for the pure wines of Biagorri, is advised on the route to Haro.
Our hotel in Haro occupies a former monastery and is full of appealing charm.
Once in Haro enjoy the best of the classical producers in the home of traditional Rioja. We will arrange tastings at the best bodegas in the historical Barrio de La Estación (railway station district) in Haro for you to soak up all the tradition of this town.
We also suggest a drive out to the village of San Vicente to taste the wines of 2 excellent up and coming bodegas.
Additional Travel ::
Check out our Boutique Hotels section below for the unique experience of staying at a working bodega or to stay at exceptional hotels with Michelin stared dining.
Combine a trip to Rioja with a short break in Bilbau to experience the heart of the Basque region and the fantastic cuisine. Or head towards the Ribera del Duero wine region to taste more great red wines.
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Based on 2 persons sharing, including return flights from London Heathrow, hotels as suggested in Logrono & Haro and car hire.[/jbox] [/jcolumns]
Tour Highlights, Suggested Stops & Further Info[jtabs]
Map of the small Riojan villages on the journey from Logrono to Haro;[jtab/]
A vibrant city famous for it’s traditional tapas restaurants situated in the town centre along the streets; Calle del Laurel, known as “the path of the elephants” and Calle San Juan. These tapas bars offer some of the best pinchos and tapas in northern Spain.
Logrono serves as an excellent base to explore the nearby villages of Laserna, Laguardia and Eltziego.[jaccordion]
AC Hotel La Rioja by Marriot ::
AC Hotel La Rioja is undoubtedly one of the best options in Logrono if you are looking to spend a comfortable few days in the city, while enjoying the tapas and wine of this famous region. This newly-built hotel is located near the university area, close to the historic centre of the city, the Town Hall and the booming business area. The modern facilities make it the perfect place to leave the stresses and strains of the day behind. Enjoy the avant garde cuisine of the AC Hotel La Rioja, La Ribera, offering a menu of traditional cuisine in an exquisite setting with minimalist decor. A free Wi-Fi internet service is available in the hotel library, providing easy access to a high-speed connection.[jacc/]
Hotel Marques de Vallejo ::
Conveniently situated in the centre of Logrono, just around the corner from the lovely tapas of Calle San Juan and the Santa María de la Redonda Cathedral.
This boutique 3 star hotel has recently been modernised and has 50 well appointed rooms, with air-conditioning, LCD TV and free Wi-Fi.[jacc/]
Calle de Laurel Tapas ::
Over 65 bars and restaurants offering different covers or pinchos along with local wines by the glass and beer. Each have their own house speciality, such as mushrooms, sausage, offal, seafood and Spanish omelette, all of which complimenting the fabulous Riojan wines perfectly.[/jaccordion] [jtab/]
A village located just outside the outskirts of Logrono and home to one of our favourite bodegas, Contino.[jaccordion]
Vinedos del Contino ::
Although wines have only been bottled under the Contino label since 1974, Vinedos del Contino is rooted in its ancestral home of Laserna and surrounded by its vineyards within a bend of the Ebro river. The deep alluvial soils are markedly sandy with limestone in the deeper strata, with a more clayey-sandy content, around stones and pebbles, at the mid-range and surface levels. The vineyard land slopes gently down to the river and provides the best conditions for growing wines of extraordinary quality. The wines of Contino are made exclusively from these 62 hectares of vineyards.
In its cellars, among La Rioja’s oldest, the echoes of the most deeply-rooted wine making tradition can be heard along with the sounds of the latest technology. The ancient cellars date back to the 16th century and are responsible for the ageing of the wine, under the best temperatures and humidity.
Contino is best known for its Vina del Olivo vineyard, where an old oak tree (approx. 1,000 years old) stands amongst the vines and provides an excellent spot for the vineyard workers to find some shade on a hot day, or indeed a perfect location for a picnic during a tasting visit.[jacc/]
Bodegas Vina Real ::
Another Bodega from the Cvne portfolio.
In 1920, the first Viña Real wines were placed on the market. They combined the personality, character, and elegance of the land with the roundness and balance of a perfect crianza. They were wines made with grapes from the Eltziego area, in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, where the vineyards are located near the old Camino Real, inspiring the name Viña Real.
Today, the Viña Real wines, made predominantly with the Tempranillo grape, are modern, balanced, elegant wines, built for a long life.
The new winery building in Laserna is home to the production and aging of the Viña Real family of wines. The compelling architecture, the work of Bordeaux-based architect Philippe Mazieres, makes an impression and leaves no room for doubt: Viña Real is devoted to innovation and experimentation, the pillars of the company. The vat-shaped structure is the heart of the winery, housing the fermentation room where the wine takes shape. It also includes a Canadian red cedar structure and two long tunnels drilled into the hill’s bedrock, where the wines are aged.[/jaccordion] [jtab/]
Laguardia has a wealth of gourmet restaurants and has a delightful jumble of cobbled streets lined with “Tabernas”, wine shops, palaces, and cafes. The main square of the village has a pretty arcaded Town Hall, which dates back to the 15th century, and a very unusual clock with dancing hands called the “Reloj de Carillon”.
Laguardia is home to 2 exceptional Bodega from the more modern side of Rioja production.[jaccordion]
Bodegas Artadi ::
Originally a cooperative of 13 growers around Laguardia, Juan Carlos López de Lacalle purchased and combined to form the Bodega. He immediately amended the philosophy and style of wine making. The wine making is modern with an emphasis upon fruit driven wines, aged in French oak to allow an eloquent natural expression of Tempranillo.[jacc/]
Bodegas Ysios ::
The flagship winery of the new Rioja. The wave shaped bodega building is designed by Ground Zero architect Santiago Calatrava, and is designed as a temple to wine. The bodega is owned by Pernod Ricard, who also own Campo Viejo, Siglo & Perrier-Jouet.
Ysios produce a select range of reserva wines. The aging of Ysios wines lasts between 14 and 16 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels, with different roasting levels to enhance the aromas of the Tempranillo grape. The wine then remains in bottle for a minimum of 22 months. The director of the wine making team explains, “Our aim is to improve the fruity flavour that comes from the grape and to add complexity to the wine by aging it in barrels from multiple sources, and with different toasting methods to achieve a deep, silky reserve.”[/jaccordion] [jtab/]
A pretty village set around the San Andres Church, which gracefully rises above its parishioners. However the view is soon dominated by the Frank O. Gehry designed silky ribbons of the Hotel Elciego situated at the Bodega Marques de Riscal, which truly reflects the traditional old and new of this region.
Marques de Riscal[jtab/]
Baigorri is an ultra modern winery, the building is an impressive glass box overlooking the vineyards with all the winery functions underneath and underground. The fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine making is gravity fed to preserve the purity of the fruit.
Modern style, pure Tempranillo, ripe plummy fruit, almost Burgundian purity, aged in French and Eastern European oak.[jtab/]
San Vicente ::[jaccordion]
Bodega Contador – Benjamin Romeo ::
The bodega was established in 1995 and is already well respected within Rioja. In 2008 Benjamin completed his new, state of the art winery, built into the hills of Rioja surrounded by his vineyards.
Relatively modern wine making is employed here, with meticulous attention to detail at every stage of the production process, which Benjamin personally oversees. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically, with only organic material used as fertilizer and spraying treatments only applied if they are considered absolutely essential to maintain the perfect health of the grapes.
Each plot is farmed individually to small yields and vinified separately. The wines are aged from 18 to 20 months in new French oak barrels, from only the most prestigious French coopers, to make wines of great balance and maximum expression of the land.[jacc/]
Bodega Abel Mendoza ::
A small, family run estate of prime old vineyards land in the district of San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Extraordinary handcrafted wines, especially the white single varietals; Malvasia, Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco and Turruntes, sadly only made in small quantities.
“I cultivate vines following my own rules, which has nothing to do with current trends; rhythms are marked by the variables one observes in the vine, where a correct intervention at the right time on the land or on the vine, determines the quality of the wine” – Abel Mendoza – Wines From Spain, Dec 2009.[/jaccordion] [jtab/]
The home of the traditional Rioja producers and incredible hand crafted wines.
Bodegas R. López de Heredia – Vina Tondonia ::
A bench mark for traditionally produced Rioja, the quality of the wines is such that they have maintained a plateau of perfection for years. The Bodegas most famous wines come from the legendary Tondonia vineyards established on the alluvial slopes overlooking the River Ebro on the cusp of the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa wine sub-regions.
Although the Bodega has its own cooperage on site Tondonia wines are given minimal new oak. The Reserva and Gran Reserva red and white wines are aged for up to the maximum period permitted in cask and are indulged with frequent racking as necessary. The wines undergo egg-white fining and are bottled without filtration. A further stylistic key to Tondonia wines is the extensive pre-release bottle aging, the quest for perfection is paramount and the wines are not released until ready.[jacc/]
More in the “modern” camp than their neighbours and favouring French over American oak. Their excellent vintages of 2004 and 2010 really underline the quality of their range.
2 great Reserva wines;
RODA wines are from plots of red berry fruit characters, with aromas that are to the fore, ready for immediate enjoyment, with sweet spice notes and delicious freshness. On the palate, the red berry fruit should come through, with a refreshing mouthfeel, length, silky texture and continuous volume.
RODA I is the blend from those plots which in that year have produced grapes of black, ripe fruit characters. The deep, dark, black fruit is almost always dominated by plum aromas together with mineral & chocolate notes and balsamic flavours.
Roda also push the boundaries of perfection with their extra special cuvee – Cirsion.
In 1995, Bodegas Roda observed that some vines were producing grapes with a flavour that was very different from that of the other surrounding vines. Whilst the usual sensation on tasting a grape is one of fresh fruit, acidity and sweetness, they found that in these cases the flavour sensation was one of fullness and volume, characteristics which were closer to actual wine tasting rather than grape-tasting. Using only grapes from these specially selected vines they made the first vintage of Cirsion in 1997. They noted that with a short ageing in barrel, it reached an incredible degree of silkiness and unparalleled fruit complexity.
Cirsion is now made almost every year when, during the harvest, they go through their vineyards seeking out this curious natural rarity, and on one vine in a thousand these grapes are found and picked to make Cirsion. It is eagerly awaited each year by wine enthusiasts all over the world.[jacc/]
La Rioja Alta ::
The benchmark for traditionally produced Rioja. Founded by 3 families; Alberdi, Arana and Ardanza in 1890, whose family names are used on the Reserva wines today. In exceptional vintage years La Rioja Alta also produce 2 excellent Gran Reservas; 890 & 904, which are among the finest wines made in Rioja.
La Rioja Alta own 360ha of vineyards, from which they can source top-quality grapes, resulting in excellent fruit and richness throughout their wines. Tempranillo dominates the plantings, complemented with a small proportion of Garnacha and Graciano vines.
Bodegas Muga is located in the historical Barrio de La Estación (railway station district) in Haro. The facilities (270,000 square foot) are two centuries old, built mainly of stone and oak. In fact, oak is paramount in the winery. There are 200 oak deposits as well as 14,000 barrels, made out of different types of oak ranging from French oak (Allier, Tronçais or Jupilles), American, Hungarian, Russian and even the small consignment of Spanish oak.
Bodegas Muga vineyards are located on the foot of the Montes Obarenses, within the area called Rioja Alta. The site climate is exceptional due to, on the one hand, the singular geography and orientation of the vines and on the other hand, the surrounding climates –Mediterranian, Atlantic and Continental climates are combined harmoniously thus creating a suitable climatic site for growing grapes.
The soil in this area is mostly clay and limestone, divided in small terroirs with different physical and chemical qualities between them; thus each terroir has a unique and defined personality. This abundance of climatic influences and different soils define prolonged stages in the vine growth cycle. The growth will be complex and delicate, key to the potential quality of the wines in this area.
Bodegas Muga owns 620 acres of vineyards but it also has control over 370 acres owned by vine growers in the area. The grape varieties grown are Tempranillo (the essence), Garnacha (Grenache), Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano for the red wines; and Viura and Malvasia are used for the white wines.
In Muga’s wines you find both tradition and modernity side by side. They are an exact reflection of very specific climatic and geographic features, and that’s why they have a pronounced personality.[jacc/]
Cvne is the winery where the company began in 1879. And today it still sits on its original site, in the wine district, Barrio de la Estación, in Haro, home of the Rioja Alta wineries.
Rioja Alta is the westernmost of Rioja’s three sub-areas. It is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean’s climate. The soil in Rioja Alta is rich in iron, limestone and clay, along with nutrients deposited in the region by the tributaries of the Ebro River. Rioja Alta is known for producing full-bodied wines with a medium alcohol content that are suitable for aging in casks, forming the basis of most red Riojas.[jacc/]
Hotel Los Agustinos
Occupying a former monastery, this appealing hotel is located in the centre of the famous town of Rioja. Renovated in 2005 and affording a rustic ambience, the hotel comprises a total of 62 rooms. A pleasant foyer awaits guests with a reception desk. The hotel features a wonderful inner courtyard with a columned walkway. Culinary options include an American bar and an excellent restaurant. Hotel garage facilities are available to those arriving by car. The stylish rooms come with a private bathroom, a hairdryer satellite/ cable TV, as well as a minibar, air conditioning and hire safe. Leisure facilities include a pleasant sauna complex.[/jaccordion] [jtab/]
Boutique Hotels ::[jaccordion]
Eguren Ugarte Hotel ::
A modern 5* hotel set at the Bodega Eguren Ugarte. This design hotel is situated in Laguardia and is surrounded by 130 hectares of vineyards and fields in Alaves region of Rioja. The hotel offers a majestic setting with beautiful views over the extensive grounds.
Experience life at the Bodega by staying in one of the 21 beautifully appointed rooms, decorated in warm colours, with attractive wood floors. The spacious bathroom comes with 2 sinks and a large shower. The hotel has both a traditional “Asador” restaurant and a modern restaurant. Free Wi-Fi and free private parking is available.
All guests are offered a free tour of the Bodega, including a tasting of 3 wines and one pintxo.
Bodegas Artadi and Bodegas Ysios are very close by.[jacc/]
Hospedería de los Parajes ::
Located in the walled village of Laguardia, this contemporary 4* hotel is actually built within the medieval walls. With a stylish design throughout the 18 room hotel has its own spa centre with Turkish spa hammam, hot tub and wine therapy. The hotel also provides free Wi-Fi access.
The hotel has 2 restaurants; “Los Parajes” where modern innovative cuisine is served in a stylish atmosphere and complemented by a unique wine list, and the restaurant “Las Duelas” where hotel’s traditional atmosphere shows the most authentic history of Laguardia. The hotel also has a cellar bar, providing a charming corner in the beautiful 16th century cellar dug underground, which serves light snacks.
Bodegas Eguren Ugarte and Bodegas Ysios are very close by.[jacc/]
Hotel Viura ::
Exceptional and funkily designed 4* hotel with great fine dining restaurant and roof top terrace. Situated in Villabuena de Álava, this design hotel is perfect as a base for discovering La Rioja. It is just 20 minutes away from Haro and Logroño, and 10 minutes from such emblematic wine cellars as Ysios and Marqués de Riscal.
The hotel terrace offers views of the Sierra de la Cantabria Mountains. There are also views of the San Andrés Church in Eltziego, first built in 1538.
Bodegas Luis Canas is located in the same village as the hotel and is well worth a visit.[jacc/]
Hotel Elciego (Marques de Riscal) ::
Located in the village of Eltziego alongside the Bodega Marques de Riscal, this silky ribbon encased hotel is exceptional. Designed and built by the famous architect Frank O. Gehry, the hotel has light, clean and precise interiors, along with stunning views of the surrounding vineyards.
The hotel has 2 restaurants; the Restaurant Marques de Riscal for fantastic Michelin stared dining, and the casually chic Bistro 1860 offering traditional Spanish cuisine with an exciting modern twist.
The Lounge Library roof top bar is perched on the top floor of Frank Gehry’s architectural masterpiece, The Library with its distinctive asymmetrical walls, slanting glass, double height ceilings and undulating curves is a contemporary space perfect for chilling-out with a coffee, cocktail or glass of wine at any time of day. Outside, beyond the large expanses of glass, the eye is instinctively drawn to the rows of grapevines curving endlessly away into the distance.
The Vinothérapie Spa, by Caudalie Marqués de Riscal, offers a range of grape-based treatments. There is also an indoor pool, hammam, fitness centre and massage services.[/jaccordion] [/jtabs]
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