Wednesday, 18 July 2012

La Rioja

I've been on my summer holidays for a week now and I'm having vineyards and winery withdrawal. So I thought a quick trip down to Rioja was needed!

I arrived in Laguardia at around 7pm after a stunning, clear blue sky drive from Bordeaux. After tasting some seriously good wines at Altos, we went for dinner at Carlos' restaurant in Logrono.

 Carlos was as usual busy at the front of house whilst his mother, as always, was preparing the most delicious food in the kitchen. We let Carlos choose the food and wine. We started with one of the best whites I have tasted a 2011 Rias Baixas Albarino from Do Frerrer with smoked paprika melt-in-the-mouth pulpo and the ham was equally good.

We had a glass of JMS' Pigeage with amazing lamb cutlets before a traditional but lovely 2004 Rioja Reserva from Marques de Murrieta with beautiful sea bass, heaven!

Up early to blistering sunshine so I was glad of a couple of cellar visits starting at Bodega Eguia  then onto the stunning Marquis de Riscal. I've often been passed the place, hard to miss the hotel in the little village of Elciego!

But it was a first time visit for me to the cellars and to taste the wines in the winery. Plenty of barrels to keep my winery withdrawal symptoms at bay!

I then headed round the corner to Bodega Muriel to see my good friend, owner Javier Mura. We had a walk round a few barrels (about 20,000), then tasted some new blends and the excellent 2004 Gran Reserva from bottle.

Just time for a spot of lunch with the Altos guys before heading back up to Bordeaux!

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