Sunset over Clavijo castle
Last Saturday was one of the best Saturdays I have had in a long time! One of C’s friends was visiting for the weekend, and since it was her first time in La Rioja, C wanted to show her the best we have to offer….wine! Since I have no shame, and I was dying to get out of Logroño for the day, I tagged along. First stop, a bodega! Surprise, surprise.
Through C’s boyfriend J, we were able to get a private tour of Valenciso near Haro, and with J’s influence, their 2005 reserva is quickly becoming one of my favorite Rioja reds. However, I am surprised that I can actually write this post and that my fingers didn’t freeze off that day, it was SO cold! And in case you are naive (like me), wineries are not generally heated. What a pity! However, we all survived and tucked in to a lovely tasting accompanied with my favorite Spanish dish, tortilla de patata, with a twist-cooked with spicy red pepper! Now that will warm you up!
La Rioja was spectacularly beautiful that day. Dramatic dark skies combined with the snow-capped mountains made for a wonderful drive around the region. We stopped in the little village of Briones to climb up to the top for views of the mountains and surrounding countryside before driving along San Vicente and other medieval towns on our way to Laguardia for lunch. I had my favorite rabo de toro for lunch (oxtail soup); don’t knock it til you try it-it’s pretty damn delicious! Luckily J is patient too, and didn’t kill me for yelling, “stop the car, look at the view, I need another picture,” about a million times during the drive.
We passed the infamous Marqués de Riscal bodega before watching the sun set from Clavijo, an incredible ruined castle just outside Logroño. Scrambling literally up the side of an icy mountain in high winds in a skirt and leather boots probably wasn’t the wisest wardrobe choice, or maybe forgetting gloves was the biggest wardrobe malfunction of the day. Either way, watching the lanscape change colors as the sun went down from this high perch with Logroño and the mountains in the distance, was probably the perfect ending to a perfect day. After coming home and taking a late power-siesta, I was ready to properly end the day eating my go-to pinchos on the calle Laurel. Sigh, I love La Rioja!