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Hello Haro -travels in Rioja


#1

Thanks to so much advise from the collective here I have returned for a week in Rioja and SAN Sebastian. There been a small delay in posting and I’ve started with the Bodegas visits. , but I’ll try to follow on with direct impressions of wines.

We stayed 4 nights and it was mainly a holiday.

Bodegas Visits

The first day we walked to Haro a good 35 minutes trek along the river from our hotel in Brinas. It was beautiful, but rainy on this day. Luckily, we enter the town directly in the Station area were most of the Bodegas are situated.

Muga

The English tour started at 10am, we visited the whole winery, it’s a large operation. The barrel rooms and cellars are immense. You get to visit their cooper , although they were not actually toasting any barrels at that moment. It was good to see the scale of the operation, a constant hub of activity, despite the wines basically just aging. We had a limited tasting of the white and crianza as saving ourselves for Roda

The white is ok everyday stuff and the crianza 2015 still way too young, but it is the same wine as the reserva we get in the UK but this has more bottle age, thus qualifying for reserva

RODA

We went for the lunch on river terrace option, which was great. They were harvesting so we saw the grapes coming in, being sorted and put into the fermentation tanks. The lunch was massive and the whole range of wines was tasted. We were then left to enjoy the lunch with a bottle of each the Sela, Roda, Roda I but a half of the Cirsion. It was more than the two of us could manage, but a tasting to remember. It’s a shame the weather was so poor, we were freezing.

The bodega is impressive, a modern building on an old site. There’s concrete and glass then you turn a corner in the cellar and there’s old limestone tunnels, which lead to the river terrace from which they loaded boats in years gone by.

Their wines are made in a modern style using French oak entirely. They source from vineyards throughout Rioja, looking for old vines in prime locations, some owned, some not. They then blend the different parcels to create the cuvees, Sela- is a young, strong wine, RODA Reserva – red fruited with an Atlantic influence, RODA 1 – black fruited with a Mediterranean influence, Cirsion – the top wines from specially selected grapes.

Artadi

I didn’t think it would be possible to get a tour of this prime winery, but a simple email was enough.

We toured the bodegas, then El Pison vineyard and finished with a tasting.

To get to the vineyard is a short trip, but on this day their white London cab wouldn’t open and so we drove ourselves, then had to hop over the stone wall as the key was in the cab, which made it all feel a bit James Bond. Still a lovely vineyard with a stone building at its centre, the El Pison. It demonstrated this winery’s philosophy. Individual plots bottled separately, and produced outside of the Rioja regulations, so no reserva or Rioja etc on the labels. The “terrior” is meant to speak more loudly than the region. Wonderful tasting of a lot of the range, these are great wines and worth your attention. One can debate the high prices

Bodegas Hermanos Peciña

Looking through various books and this website, this stuck me as a traditional producer with good reviews, small production and slightly off piste as I’d not heard of them.

We organised a late afternoon visit and were well treated to a winery tour, with grapes for the white being sorted and tanks being filled. A large barrel cellar is full of American oak barrels, mostly old. No new oak is used for the main range.

The wines shown were good, well made, solidity Rioja, but still with good fruit and vineyard expression. Their vineyards all being within the area of the winery, dotted around St Vincent and Labastida, high up towards the edge of the vineyard range.

My take away from the 4 visits is the difference in approach, which is largely why I chose these places to visit. RODA a modern expression of the Rioja area, this blending of grape across the piece is a traditional take, with modern methods and old vines. Artadi, completely different take on the modern theme, with individual vineyards and a rejection of traditional aging categories. Pecina, traditional, but small with its own vineyards. Muga, sort of in the middle, large area selection, traditional aging but in French oak.
This is a big area so I only scratched the surface, but there a lot of very good wine and it’s a beautiful wine touring area.


#2

Muga photos


#3

Roda photos


#4

Artadi El Pison vineyard


#5


#6

The line up at Roda. Bad quality photo because it was dark and cold.

Bodegas Roda Sela 2015, Roda 2014, Roda I 2011 y Cirsion 2016.

No formal notes taken but Sela was as described a pizza wine but a very high class one. Light oak & red fruit. Roda was red fruited long with touch of new oak. Its blended to be atlantic. Roda I more depth and black fruited lovely touch of spice.
Cirsion is a different breast. Super ripe and black. Still with a balance. So young it difficult to tell if you will ever wish to drink more than a glass. Hedonistic.


#7

Russ, Thanks for your detailed post. You’ve inspired me to return to beautiful place that is Rioja and I shall certainly follow some of your trail.


#8

Here’s the line up at Artadi.

It’s quite something isn’t it. I was far to busy enjoying myself to take notes. The white was quite good, but the reds were all excellant, the Vinas de Gain 2016, perhaps as they suggest it’s everyday but still with a lovely cutting edge, fine red fruit, not even behind the others in quality just different. The individual vineyards bottles were all from 2014, El Carretil, La Poza, Valdeginés were excellant wines. Each vineyard showing its character, but also each saying Artadi. I guess there a bit of auto suggestion, but I could honestly taste;the richer, fruiter Poza; the more red fruited, mineral and elegant Valdegines; El Carretil the more complete, and you might take one instead of the other, but they’re all excellent, you’d be tempted to drink them now but greater things await. Forced to pick my favourite child I’d go in order; El Carretil, Valdegines, Poza.

The El Pison 2008 is more complete that the other, rounder, richer, still balanced and not OTT. Obviously it has age on its side, but you can see why this is the leader of the pack.

So there are my impressions, I’ve never tasted these wines before and at the prices charged it maybe some time before I do again. They were the out and out stars of my trip. I can see why they are so sort after.


#9

We went to Haro and Logrono in September with friends on a four night tour organised by Ramon Ramirez of The Unique Traveller. He did an excellent job getting us round various vineyards, bodegas, museum, restaurants etc.
I wondered afterwards whether I should havfe been taking detailed notes but no, it was a holiday, and we enjoyed ourselves!


#10

@Kidman glad you enjoyed the notes. Although no notes taken at the times, just photos and a bit of memory. I agree having your face in a notebook on holiday can just spoil things.

Which bodegas did you visit?


#11

Roda, CVNE, Baigorri, Vina Real, Marques de Riscal, Eguren Ugarte.

We also had excellent lunches in the Baigorri and Eguren Ugarte restaurants…


#12

@Russ

Thankyou for posting the notes and photographs.

Really looking forward to our visit in May. Haro will be the end of our road trip via the Loire, Bordeaux and San Sebastian. Guessing wine may figure somewhere along the route. :laughing:


#13

Sounds good. Anything you really recommend visit or wine wise?

I haven’t really heard much about Baigorri and Eguren Ugarte so interest on your comments