Ruby Reds: Where To Sleep Eat And Drink In La Rioja
A tasting tour of north central Spain’s La Rioja region is a must for red wine enthusiasts of Tempranillo, Crianza, or Garnacha. With over 500 vineyards to choose from, some architectural visions on their own, and a local food scene that capitalizes on its abundant produce, fresh meats, game and local fish, we highly recommend a few days detour.
The region is made up of three sub-zones, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. With many routes to choose from, map out your days in Alta and Alavesa, a part of the Basque Country, where the majority of notable vineyards are located. Be sure not to overlook the dozens of small wineries in the towns of Abalos and Samaniego in Alta and Villabuena de Avala in Alavesa.
SLEEP: For the architecturally curious, Hotel Viura is a cube stack marvel in the center of the traditional village of Villabuena de Avala. Our favorite perk: most rooms have panoramic views of the town. Another design wonder, the steel ribbon like structure of the Frank Gehry-designed Hotel Marques de Riscal , overlooks Rioja’s oldest vineyards and is dedicated to pampering your every need.
For a traditional Spanish residence, one by way of the 17th century, Real Casona de las Amas provides a structural glimpse of the past with the creature comforts of modern day amenities.
EAT: Logroño is well known for its pinxtos, the Basque version of tapas, and strolling along Calle Laurel is a fun way to sample local favorite dishes and wines. For an outstanding regional menu in a vineyard setting, dine in the cellars of Los Calaos de Briones. Since chef Francis Paniego teamed up with his mom in the kitchen of Echaurren, the pair have been creating modern takes on classic Riojan fare.
DRINK: For a comprehensive look into some of the best wineries in the region, we recommend Maribel’s Guide For The Sophisticated Traveler. You’ll find top picks for everything from traditional and family run to cutting edge along with hours of operation and touring policies.
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