THE RIOJA

The Rioja Alavesa is well known thanks to the excellent wines produced there, and it is worth a visit.  A turistic bus, called “enobus” is an interesting choice. You will tour around the region and visit a winery for 10€. On board you’ll find lots of info: audio guides in different languages, and leaflets that will help you make the most of the visit. If your choice is driving your own car, we would recommend going first to Laguardia and ask there for guided visits. There are two offers: “Piedra y vino” and “Miradores”.
First will show you Laguardia and then take you to La Villa de Labraza, the Santa María church in Moreda, the renaissance altarpiece and the “Hechicera” dolmen at Elvillar, the town of Poblado de la Hoya and finally an open air walk at the Ysios winery. The rout of the “Miradores” will take you to the Póveda park, the viewpoint at Elciego, the tower of the Samaniego church and the “Balcón de La Rioja” where you’ll find spectacular views. Just a simple walk around the medieval town of Laguardia, placed just down the “Sierra de Cantabria” is worth a visit. The history of this city, declared Monumental Ensemble, is bound to wine and its wineries produce around twelve million litres a year. Lately, Laguardia and the Rioja region experimented a turistic boom thanks to the bet for enologic tourism, with prestigious wineries, some designed by internationally well known architects. For instance the Ysios (Laguardia) wineriy, the first to stress on enologic tourism, built by Santiago Calatrava by the end of the nineties. Another outstanding building, designed by Frank Gehry is the Marqués de Riscal winery (Elciego). The titanium facade and stunning architecture deserved several prices. Avant-garde and tradition compose the landscape at Elciego. Then, there are singular projects, like the San Prudencio winery, producing “ice wine” from black grape, very popular in northern countries like Canada or Austria, but rare known in Spain. A surprising initiative develops at the Bodegas Valdelana (Elciego), the first worldwide to add edible gold to red wine. The bottle comes with a laminated gold dipenser. Apparently, a very successful attempt in Russia or Dubai, where this sofisticated wine is very celebrated.

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