This past autumn I was in Rioja. It was the occasion of our first-BKWine wine tour to Rioja. A fantastically successful trip. The Rioja region’s newsletter editor became interested in the tour and in what I liked about Rioja. So it all became an interview in the Rioja newsletter.
Here is Riojas’ site with lots of information about Rioja. Choose your country or language. The newsletter interview is unfortunately only available in Swedish but here is an excerpt from it.
Tell us about your wine tour to Rioja! Why did you go there, how was planned, who did you visit?
In early September, we organized for the first time a wine tour to Rioja. It was not the first time I was there but it was the premiere for Rioja as a destination on our travel program on BKWine Wine Tours. It was a tremendously successful trip!
The tour began and ended in Bilbao. It’s easy to get to Bilbao and it is an incredibly beautiful and charming city. Plus, of course, there’s the Guggenheim Museum. But what was most important on the trip was three full days in the Rioja wine region, based in the Rioja capital of Logroño. During the three days we managed eight winery visits to some of the most exciting vineyards.
An important part of the trip was the food. We wanted to show what Rioja had to offer of gastronomy. All meals were at wine producers’ which is particularly charming. You have to be in good shape for a journey like this, when you will have to “cope with” gastronomic meals with many dishes every day!…
What were your impressions of the trip?
It was a very successful tour and I hope more people will discover Rioja as a destination both for its wine and gastronomy, but also everything else that the region has to offer. And also to discover the Rioja wines of course!
What struck me the first time I came to Rioja, which was not so long ago, was how incredibly beautiful the landscape is. The Rioja wine region meanders along the course of a river valley and on each side extends quite high mountains. Along the valley vineyards spreads out almost to the horizon, either green in spring and summer or in autumn colours later in the year. Very beautiful!
But regarding the wines – and that’s what is most important here – Rioja is also a very exciting region. We met several young and enthusiastic winemakers which bodes well for the future of Rioja. Over the years there has been much “ups and downs” for Rioja, sometimes it has been a very popular wine, sometimes there have been setbacks. Today, I think it’s clear that the whole of the Rioja wine sector is, well, perhaps not “on a roll” but at least geared up to international wine lovers’ tastes. The region has adapted – let’s say “modernized” – the wine style to today’s wine consumers and has made great progress in terms of quality. And you they dare to experiment to drive quality forwards.
In short, Rioja is today a very exciting wine region where there is everything from good, balanced everyday wines to very ambitious prestigious wines of high international standard. That becomes very clear when you travel around the vineyards!
Was there anything during the tour that made a particularly great impression or surprised you?
It is particularly gratifying to see that there’s so much experimentation and so many driven and ambitious winemakers. Experimentation does not necessarily mean that they do “international” wines. Rather it means that they are working on getting even better wine but in keeping with the traditions that they have.
There is probably a newsletter available in your language too that you can subscribe too on the site. (You can read the Swedish version here.)
We are sure to organise more wine tours to the Rioja wine region in the future!