Why Spain’s Rioja Is the Wine Region to Visit Now

LATEST NEWS | AUGUST 1, 2017

Medieval Castles, Michelin Stars, and Modern Architecture: Why Spain’s Rioja Is the Wine Region to Visit Now

In La Rioja, a small region huddled around the Ebro River Valley in northern Spain, it’s easy to feel a little dazed—and it is not just the un-ending supply of great local wine that lends itself to such slow shaking of the head, such squinting of the eyes. It’s also the scenery: Those rows of shimmering olive trees and gnarled vines that stripe each umber hill with silver and pale green; Those walled medieval villages whose ochre-tinged castles crown the tallest bluffs; Those pale blue skies where steely clouds swirl on breezes kicked down from the jagged Cantabria Mountains that hover above. It’s a fairytale backdrop, a faded page from a storybook suddenly come to life.

For aesthetes who prefer modern architecture to winding cobble stone streets (of which there are plenty, especially in the lovely capital city of Logroño), the region doesn’t disappoint, either. Work from Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid rise out of the rural landscape like futuristic spaceships transplanted from another dimension entirely. And, the area is a foodie’s dream, too, with Michelin-starred chefs like Ignacio Echapestre at Venta Moncalvillo and Francis Paniego at El Portal del Echaurren offering innovative versions of traditional Basque cuisine in shockingly modern dining rooms that belie their quaint village locales.

With so much on offer, it’s a bit surprising, then, that La Rioja isn’t an American tourist destination on par with Bordeaux or Tuscany—though, as so often happens with under-the-radar gems, that may soon change. Not only is the region featured in the infamous “fantasy suite” episode of this season’s The Bachelorette, but the hotel group Omni is poised to spotlight many of Rioja’s outstanding wines at its restaurants across the nation come fall, catapulting the region’s diverse range of wines into the mainstream.

Below, a look at where to stay and what to drink should you decide to visit. According to locals, autumn—with its rich tapestry of gold, crimson, and indigo—is one of the most spellbinding times to go. So, you might want to start planning that wine-soaked Spanish holiday now.

Read more here.

Why Spain’s Rioja Is the Wine Region to Visit Now

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One factor that makes Rioja a world class wine is its ability to be aged for a long time, and the fact that the winery ages the wines before release. In fact, Rioja has long set the standard for extended aging, having defined the requirements.

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Vivanco
European Cellars/ Eric Solomon Selections
Europvin
Evaton
Fine Estates From Spain
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Frederick Wildman & Sons
Grupo Bodegas Faustino
Marques de Riscal
Ole Imports
Opici Wines
Osborne USA
Palm Bay International
Quintessential
Shaw-Ross International Importers
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Terlato
The Artisan Collection
The Drink Collective
Vinamericas Selections LLC
Vineyard Brands, Inc.
W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.
Winebow
Winebow (MundoVino, a member of The Winebow Group)
Zamora Americas
220 Imports
A.I. Selections
ARAEX/Spanish Fine Wines
Arborway Imports
Artevino
Ascent Wines
Assa Imports
Astor Wines
Austral Wine Merchants
Aveniu Brands
Baron Francois
BCG Consulting
Bodega Classica/Vintae
Bodegas Castillo de Mendoza
Bodegas Corral, S.A.
Bodegas Medrano Irazu
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Bodegas Ontanon
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Bodegas Riojanas
Bodegas Tobia
Bodegas Valdelana
Bon Vivant Imports
Boutique Wine Collection
Bronco Wine Company
C & P WinesBronco Wine Company
Carolina Wine Brands USA
Casa Ventura Imports, Inc.
Cerda y Llanos
Chartrand Imports
Chateau Armand
Classic Wines
Classical Wines from Spain
Cognac One, LLC
Coleccion International Del Vino USA (CIV USA)
Constellation Wines
Constellation Wines
David Bowler Wine
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DFV Wines
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Divino Imports
Domaine Select
Dreyfus Ashby & Co
Eguren Ugarte
Elite Wines
Emporium Nostrum
ENYE Imports Group
Familia Martinez Bujanda
Felix Solis Avantis
Folio Fine Wine Partners
Folio Wine Partners
Francisco Selections, Inc.
Freixenet USA
Frontier Wine Imports
Garnacha Inc
GECO Global Group USA
Golden State Wine Co.
Gonzalez-Byass
Grapes of Spain
Grupo Bodegas Olarra
Grupo Principe de Viana
H.A.B. North America
HGC Imports Inc.
Hidalgo Imports
HP Selections
International Wine & Spirits
Janet Kafka
Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd.
La Rioja Alta
Laurel Importers
Lionstone International
Lopez de Haro
Luneau USA, Inc
Maisons Marques & Domaines
Marfa Group
Marques de Murrieta
Michael Skurnik Wines
MJM Imports
Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd.
Murphy Distribution
Natural Wine Co.
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Noble House Wines
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P.R.Grisley Co.
Parador Selections
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Pipeline Distribution
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Protecom Wines Inc.
Regal Wine Imports
RM Distributors
RM Mabor
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Romero & Miller, LLC
Royal Wine Corp.
Serendipity Wines
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SolStar Wines
Spain Wine Collection
Spanish Vines Imports, Inc.
Specialty Cellars
Steve Miles Selection
T Edward Wines
Tempranillo Inc
Terra Nostra Vinos
Terroir
Testa Wines of the World Ltd.
The House of Burgundy, Inc.
The Marchetti Co./Scoperta Importing Co.
The Spanish Wine Imports
Think Global Wines LLC
Torres
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Transatlantic
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United Cellars
United Wineries/MHW
USA Wine West
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Vinaio Imports, Ltd.
Vinole Wines
Vinos and Gourmet Jose Pastor Selections
Vinos Libres
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Well Oiled Company
Wine Associates, Inc.
Winebow
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Winesellers, Ltd.
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