Rioja. More than wine: Camino and Monasteries

Rioja. More than wine: Camino and Monasteries

Rioja is well known for its wines and wineries. Fewer people know that Rioja is home to the Monastery where Spanish language was first written.  Today there are 2 monasteries, Yuso and  Suso, and both of them have a lot of cultural value.  These monasteries are located not far from river Oja, which is supposed to be responsible for the region´s name (Rio-Oja) Rio meaning river in Spanish language.

Rioja church

Another not so well known fact about Rioja is that it is located in El Camino. Santo Domingo de la Calzada is a very important center for pilgrims that undertake El Camino every year.  Logroño, the Capital City at La Rioja, is also part of El Camino, though being a bigger city it may not hold the same charm as Santo Domingo does.

Every year many pilgrims decide to stop for a few days in Rioja and visit wineries and enjoy local food and wine. A walking wine tour in Rioja can be a great way to spend 2 or 3 days in this region of Northern Spain.  Santo Domingo de la Calzada is located in the area called as Rioja Baja. This part of the Rioja wine producing region is not as famous as Rioja Alta or Rioja Alavesa, but it offers also many interesting wineries and beautiful vineyard landscapes. A few kilometers north of Santo Domingo de la Calzada you will find Cuzcurrita and Sajazarra. These 2 villages are home to a good number of wineries, and offer interesting monuments, castles and good restaurants to enjoy Rioja food.

A bit further North, some 25 kilometers north of Santo Domingo you will find yourself in Haro, which is home to some of the most famous wineries in Rioja., like Muga, Lopez Heredia, Rioja Alta, Ramón Bilbao or Cvne.  Haro´s bodegas are located here for one very simple reason. Wine had to be transported North to the Harbour in Bilbao. From Bilbao the wine was shipped to Bordeaux and other important European harbours. Haro was a cross of roads, and the train Station at Haro became crucial in enabling the expansion of Rioja wines and wineries. You can learn more about the history of Rioja and wine in this post.

rioja winery Muga in Haro

Rioja has been one of those spots in Spain that has managed to remain authentic. The villages are quiet, the bells can still be heard, many local people enjoy easy lives, without the stress of large cities. The only exception is Logroño. Despite it is not a large City itself, it shows a deep contrast with the small villages that are spread all around the landscapes of Rioja and Rioja Alavesa.

As in the case of many other wine regions, a river is responsible for the fertile valley. The Ebro river is Spain´s second largest river. It dies at the Mediterranean sea, south of Barcelona, in the region of Tarragona. It´s delta is a natural park and an example of sustainable agriculture.

The Ebro river in Rioja divides the terriroty. North of the river we find Rioja Alavesa, that belongs to the Spanish Basque country. South of the Ebro river we encounter Rioja.  The river offers some of the best hikes in Rioja and at some of its villages it offers fantastic opportunities to enjoy kayaking.

History of Rioja

Rioja is the Spanish Flagship for red still wines in the world . Rioja has got to this level today thanks to a past full of events related to wine. All these events explain the history of Riojan wine. Roman objects used for wine production have been found in Rioja. These containers were used for fermenting wine. Their presence confirms the production of wine in Rioja since ancient times. Subsequently it was the monasteries which would have an important role in the production of wine. There is an act by which the King of Navarre donated vineyards to the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla.

Read more in Wine Tours Spain

10. The essentials of Wines from Spain. Wine tourism

This magic trip comes to an end but don´t be sad, today we are going to visit some bodegas and travel to the most famous spanish wine regions, La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat and Cava. And guess what? Yes we will taste their amazing wines.
We really hope you have enjoyed this journey across spanish wines.
See you soon!

Classification system of Rioja wines

We have to answer to this question very often during our winery tours in Rioja region. Wine is a highly regulated sector in the European Union and in the case of Spain the regulations are established at regional level by the “Consejos reguladores” or regulatory bodies. In the case of Rioja this is the Cnsejor Regulador del vino de Rioja, which establishes the regulation for Rioja wines on things like which varieties can be planted, maximum yield per acre permitted and so forth.

Original post: Wine Tours Spain

Spain’s gastronomy. Timelapse

More about Spanihs food: in this video you can have a quick glance of the wonders of Spanish food and wine culture:

Thanks to the variety of dishes and products in Spain, as well as its important chefs and outstanding restaurants, food becomes an art you will enjoy.

A country to savour. That’s Spain. You’ll be able to discover the exquisite and typical dishes of each area, the famous miniature canapés known as ‘pintxos’, some of the best wines in the world, and an avant-garde cuisine. We present the regional cuisine from all over the country, we tell you how to prepare particular recipes, where to find traditional markets, places to enjoy Spanish gastronomy… Why not come and see?

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La Tienda: The best of Spain (in the US)

I just found this site:, an online store that sells delicious Spanish food and other things in the US. This is just an extract from their site, so you can see the kind of food you can find there:

Finest Authentic Spanish Food

Food and family are the essence of Spain. Since 1996 we have been traveling the countryside of Spain seeking out remarkable foods, especially those made by small family producers. It is our mission to offer the very best food from Spain, thereby helping preserve traditional Spanish culture and cuisine. We hope you will enjoy this diverse and delicious collection of Spanish food.

Ham from Spain
Ham from Spain
Jamón – Spanish HamDistinctive Spanish ham types: Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico
Chorizo & Sausages
Chorizo & Sausages
Chorizo y LonganizasSimple chorizo ingredients blended with pork for spectacular results

Sparkling New Year Experiences


My brain is limited – it can only support one obsession at a time. Generally, this blog wins, but last month I got hooked on the Doctor Who series (yes, I’m a science fiction junkie), and over the last couple of days, the Doctor Who was clearly winning over the blog writing, as I couldn’t stop watching. Taking the obsession under control, I will try to switch some attention to this beloved blog.

NY WinesNew Year’s day is a Sparkling wine time for me. It doesn’t have to be Champagne, but bubbles are indispensable part of the welcoming the New Year. And then January 1st is generally the day of bubbles – we have friends coming over for the small dinner and lots of bubbles on that first day of the New Year.

The 2014 was not an exception at all – so here are some of the Sparkling wines which…

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