La Rioja is historically famous and well known for the quality and variety of its wines. Its vineyards dress every corner of this autonomous community that has positioned itself as one of the most important in the world of enology.
Wine tourism continues to reinvent itself and we not only find special wineries, the latest trend is winery-hotels.
An innovative concept where you can kill two birds with one stone: stay in a dream space and sleep under the vineyards of a winery, which you can visit throughout the days of your stay.
This is the case of Bodegas FYA, part of the Piérola group, in the municipality of Navarrete.
When you arrive at the hotel, the characteristic colors of its vineyards are the first to welcome you: reddish, orange, tile, ocher … All collected in a design building and with a harmony that blends with nature and the mountains.
The rooms are Nordic style, clean, spacious, with neutral colors and warm textures, as well as the rest of the hotel and spa rooms.
But best of all is its wonderful wine cellar and the premium tours you can take after the breakfast buffet. The explanation follows the chronological order of the wine process and each tasting takes place in the different phases, so that the wines are tasted taking into account the time in barrel, jar…
Bodegas FYA is the largest producer of wine in jars in the Rioja appellation, which is divided into three areas: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja. In addition, one of the tasting sessions takes place in the pottery museum at the hotel, where the importance of the pottery tradition of Navarrete, the most important pottery-making town in the north, is explained.
These two points make the tasting exceptional and different from the rest of the tastings that can be visited.
But if there is one thing that makes La Rioja appealing, it is its gastronomy. Spoon dishes with beans, Rioja-style potatoes with local chistorra sausage, cod or meats and sausages can be found in most restaurants.
A reference in the area and at national level is El Portal de Echaurren, in Ezcaray. This relais&chateaux hotel has two Michelin stars and well deserved. Francis Paniego’s restaurant is a place of worship for anyone who loves the mix between tradition and the avant-garde, while respecting the product. Francis has a delicate way of doing things, always giving prominence to the flavors of a lifetime, those of his house.
El Portal’s tasting menu is divided into 3 phases: in the lounge, at the bar and at the table. Cold herbal infusion to whet the appetite and chorizo bell pepper and crispy corn, the famous croquettes of Echaurren and milk with caviar or crayfish and nuts and scorpion fish, foie and speculoos are some of the dishes that make up the menu and that are tested by areas, respectively.
And a place like this can only be accompanied by an exquisite service: Chef, head waiter and sommelier, makes your experience a pleasant one. He is in charge of defining the pairing that accompanies the menu or the dishes and his elegance can be appreciated in every wine he recommends. It takes into account your tastes and makes you travel to the most remote corners of Spain with its drinks.
The Paniego family is elegance at its best, which is probably an inheritance from their mother, Marisa Sánchez.
It is always necessary to return to La Rioja because it is difficult to finish it, but starting with this mini-guide is a sure hit. We promise you.
Written by: Elena Fernández