I visited this place in summer 2019…. was the perfect time to travel before this Covid-pandemic… I am hoping to go back to Spain soon, maybe this summer ?
Vamos ! On the way to Elciego (Elziego), in Álava (Spain)
Being invited to visit this marvellous winery in summer 2019, I had the chance while driving to revise my Spanish geography. I was almost convinced that Las Bodegas Marques de Riscal were in Rioja, however it is still in the Basque country, very close to Rioja actually, but in the province Álava.
The Basque Country or País Vasco (Euskadi to use the local language) is an autonomus community in Spain. It includes the provinces of Álava (Vitoria-Gasteiz), Biscay (Bilbao) and Gipuzkoa (San Sebastián, known as Donostia)
Address Bodegas Marqués de Riscal : Torrea, 1, 01340 Elciego, Álava, Spain
The marvellous shop
In the shop you can just find anything you wish. Of course, bottles of wines (red, white, rosé, even organic ones) but also any kind of gifts to take back home : magnets, postcards, keyrings, olive oils, etc.. I spent at least 30 min to look at the great choice and decided to take back home the “classic red wine from Rioja” and also a white bottle of Verdejo.
You first get to watch a video in this conference room where the story of the Bodegas over the years will be explained. After, you walk through a corridor and observe the small version of Frank O. Gehry’s artwork. This talented Canadian architect designed the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. A must to visit too !
The VAT room and the barrels
We also watched high quality videos which explained really well the whole wine- making process. Very informative if you do not know much about it.
The old cellar
In 1858 the construction of the first cellar began and the increasing wine production required the facilities to be enlarged in 1883. Further extensions followed in 1968 and 2000. Inside the original (1860) cellar is the Cathedral, a unique collection made up of bottles from every vintage produced by the winery since the very first harvest in1862 to the present.
Vinoteca – Restaurant – Hotel – Spa
The Vinoteca : have a nibble or enjoy a drink on the terrace. Open : 11h15am till 11pm
The gastronomic restaurant : if you do not have a clue about what you would like to eat, it is not a problem. You can choose between a 14 (110€) or a 21 (140€) ideas menu. All the dishes can also be paired with wines (46€/62€) to your palate’s pleasure !
The 5-star Marriott hotel : the luxurious interior bears the unmistakable stamp of Gehry’s design. Tilted walls, zigzag windows, cathedral-height ceilings and a host of bespoke details create the impression of accomodation as a work of art in its 43 rooms & suites.
The library : a great choice of books to read in peace.
The Spa : Live the Caudalie experience, just the same way you can do in France (Château Smith Haut Laffite in Martillac, near Bordeaux)
At last but not least ! My tasting, between tempranillo and verdejo
I really enjoyed my tasting, all the more that I am not “so familiar” let’s say with Spanish wines. I studied in Germany and in the UK (nice sparkling wines there now!) and love Italy. Therefore, speaking about grape varieties, I could write a book about my tasting experiences with Aglianico, Barbera, Nebbiolo or Nero d’Avola for instance, also Riesling & Gewurtzraminer but I still have a lot to learn about Tempranillo, Graciano & Mazuelo (actually our Carignan noir) ! I must admit that both the visit and the wine tasting really made my day !!
The red wine I tasted (2015) is a blend of Tempranilllo, Graciano and Mazuelo. Red fruit, elegant and expressive. Good balance with acidity and fine tannins, I got pretty surprised with this high quality wine. I added 2 bottles to my local & very international cellar… The Verdejo white wine I found very fresh and aromatic. A quite high acidity with bitter flavors of grass and fennel in the finish… Really interesting, tasty, and a change for me as I am more accustomed to be drinking Sauvignon blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay or Riesling. I got so convinced that I could not help and got a bottle to take back home to France. It will be perfect for my Aperitif sessions this summer !
1) Vineyards D.O.Ca. Rioja – Elciego (Álava) Grape Varieties : Tempranillo: predominant variety with a short growing cycle and delicate cultivation. Graciano: late-ripening variety with a long growth cycle, hardy and high-yielding. Mazuelo: minority variety in recession, late-ripening and hardy. Cabernet Sauvignon: As well as the rest of the varieties, Marqués de Riscal has cultivated this variety since 1858, the year of its foundation. With a long cycle, hardy character and marked varietal character. Hectares: 500 Ha of Tempranillo, Graciano, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mazuelo & 985 Ha of external vineyards controlled by the cellar.vines. 2) Vineyards D.O. Rueda : Vinos de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal has the biggest stock of estate-owned vines in the Denominación de Origen Rueda (230hectares), and is also one of leading wine producers of the zone and one of the biggest in Castilla y León. Hectares: 230 Ha of Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc vines. 250 Ha of controlled external vines in the villages of La Seca, Rueda, Serrada and Rodilana.985 Ha of external vineyards controlled by the cellar.
The Herederos del Marqués de Riscal winery is located in Elciego in the south of the Rioja Alavesa, the most southern part of the province of Alava in the heart of the Rioja wine and grape area. Elciego has an extensive high quality communications network and is at a crossroads between important centers of population (Logroño, Vitoria, Bilbao, Saragossa, Burgos etc.). It has access to the main motorways and expressways of northern Spain: AP-68 Bilbao-Zaragoza-Barcelona, A-124 Logroño, A-1 Madrid-Armiñón. It is also served by the airports of Logroño, Vitoria, Bilbao and Pamplona with connections to the major world capitals.
Now you have no excuse not to visit this “Maravillosa Bodega”, and if you feel like having more infos, just send me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer all the questions you may have.