Last week I traveled to what can considered to be one of the finest, prestigious, and craziest looking wineries in Spain. Marqués de Riscal is a name that commands respect. Part bodega, park luxury hotel, Marqués de Riscal is a definite must-see if you ever make it up to La Rioja. The winery dates back to the mid 19th century, but it got a new look in 2006 when it was redesigned by Frank O. Gehry. Maybe you’ve heard of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao? Yeah he designed that too. Sweeping colorful titanium plates adorn the hotel that change colors in the sunlight; it is the perfect combination of antiquity and modernity, of the ultra-modern building intertwined with the medieval town of Elciego and the surrounding vineyards.
Elciego is less than half an hour away from Logroño by car and the drive out to it is gorgeous-all through big rolling hills of vineyards with mountains in the distance. Once you find the entrance to the bodega (trust me, its more complicated than you might think-though it is impossible to miss the hotel itself) you enter a complex that seems almost like city. You have to make a reservation in advance, and the tour is extensive and takes well over an hour so be prepared but the wine served at the tasting at the end is worth the wait along with seeing this architectural masterpiece. We ended up going late in the afternoon on a rainy day, which definitely was not the best plan, but it was impressive nonetheless. I can’t wait for the chance to go back and stay in the hotel one day!