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The Rioja Alavesa wine route: wineries and walled towns

By | 7 September, 2018 | 0 comments

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The north winds, its southern situation and its limestone clay soil have turned the Rioja Alavesa into a Mecca for good wine. If we add to all this, medieval towns, wineries by architectural firms like Frank Gehry and a development of wine tourism, visiting this area becomes an experience in itself.

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Foto rutadelvinoderiojaalavesa.com

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An hour and a half by car from Hotel Gran Bilbao, Laguardia will be our starting point for discovering the land of wine.

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Walled towns

Laguardia is the nerve centre of the region. From here, you can access the rest of the Rioja Alavesa towns and wineries, and you can also visit the Wine Themed Centre, Villa Lucía.

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Foto rutadelvinoderiojaalavesa.com

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But wine is not this walled town’s only attraction. At every turn in the streets you can appreciate its medieval origins, its stately homes and the two 12th century fortified churches that envelop the visitor in the past. Santa María de los Reyes’ multicoloured stone Gothic portico stands out as one of the best preserved in the world.

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Centuries-old wineries, innovative cellars

The good state of health of the Rioja Alavesa, its wines and villages, is easily shown by the number of architects of international prestige involved in its development. Santiago Calatrava built Laguardia’s Ysios Winery and Frank Gehry integrated his sheets of titanium in the Marqués de Riscal winery, in Elciego.

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Foto rutadelvinoderiojaalavesa.com

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You mustn’t miss a visit to El Fabulista winery, in Laguardia, a centenary winery, under the palace of Samaniego, from the 17th century, where artisanal wine is still produced. Perhaps you didn’t know, but Laguardia is on a mountain that is “hollow”, since there are some 300 caves in the bowels of this medieval town that have had different uses throughout history (el Fabulista is one of the few that can be visited).

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Don’t miss the winery menus, with the two starring dishes from Rioja Alavesa: chops with vine shoots and Rioja potatoes (with chorizo).

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