I'm not gonna go on and on about all the wines we tried because we tasted a lot and everything was really delicious. They are obviously very tempranillo heavy and they were certainly the best I've ever had. The one interesting thing we learned is that they age their wines a little longer than we do before releasing them. In Rioja they are just now pouring their 2006's and over here in Napa we are releasing our 09's. If you find yourself in this part of the world, I'd highly recommend checking out these spots. If you can't make the trip, I'd definitely suggest trying any of these wines if you find them closer to home.
Lopez de Heredia
Lopez de Heredia was founded in 1877 making it one of the oldest bodegas in the entire region of Rioja. They only produce 25,000 cases a year (not considered a lot for the area) and 100% of their wines are estate grown (meaning they grow/own the fruit). They are known for their traditional winemaking style and believe in the benefits of long bottle aging.
|The town of Laguardia perched on the hill.|
|Streets of Laguardia|
|Gates of Laguardia.|
Ysios is hands down one of the most impressive wineries I've ever visited. It is so visually stunning that it's just unbelievable. We did the tour and it was really cool and educational, but you find yourself just spacing out the entire time just walking around with your jaw on the floor. Believe it or not, they make some killer wines too. We tasted two tempranillos and they knocked our socks off - so much so that we schlepped them in our suitcases back to California. This place is seriously a destination.
Hotel Marques de Riscal
Hotel Marques de Riscal was designed by Frank Gehry and is one of the coolest hotels I've ever seen. It's located in El Ciego, which is 5-10 minutes outside Laguardia. Other than being amazing to look at, the hotel's restaurant is Michelin starred and home of the best dessert of our entire trip.
|Crispy tart filled with local Rioja cheese, topped with caramelized apples and local honey ice cream.|
|Nice view from our table!|