From avant-garde architecture to outdoor pursuits and culinary delights, this area of northern Spain is a traveller’s paradise, discovers Sarah Jane Evans MW, who shares her Rioja travel guide.
Rioja: Six bodegas to visit
Take a look at Decanter’s pick of the best six bodegas to visit while in Rioja.
☆ López de Heredia, Haro
One of Rioja’s great old names, a family business which manages a delightful fusion of old (winemaking as it used to be) and new (wines are sold from a space-age shop designed by Zaha Hadid). lopezdeheredia.com
☆ Roda, Haro
Next door to López de Heredia, this shiny modern investment – all glass walls and low-lit walkways – specialises in Tempranillo. Cellars are built into the hillside. Be sure to make room in your shopping bag for the outstanding olive oil. roda.es
☆ La Rioja Alta, Haro
The third must-see in Haro. Not as picturesque as López de Heredia, perhaps, but nevertheless a worthwhile pilgrimage to the home of one of the region’s outstanding Gran Reservas. riojaalta.com
☆ Dinastía Vivanco, Briones
The wine museum is one of the best of its kind, while the circular restaurant is well worth a visit. After lunch, walk round the pretty village which also houses Bodega Miguel Merino dinastiavivanco.com, miguelmerino.com.
All that appears above ground is the glass box imprinted boldly with the company name. Tucked away below is the winery. Not just a design conceit, Baigorri is a regular medal winner. bodegasbaigorri.com
☆ Viña Real, Laguardia
The modern face of CVNE, one of Haro’s 19th-century wineries. The building is circular, vat-shaped, with a striking circular barrel cellar inside. It has great views over Rioja Alavesa, and well-organised tastings. cvne.com