Eat local, drink local — Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Rioja region, Ebro Valley, Spain

Vineyards at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Vineyards at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

On the way to San Sebastian, Spain, from Bilbao, we took a detour and visited the Rioja wine region with a tour and tapas luncheon (with our wine tasting) at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas in the Ebro Valley.

Banner promoting the major releases in front of the barrel aging room at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Banner promoting the major releases in front of the barrel aging room at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

The family history notes: “The title of Marquis of Vargas is held by a family closely connected to Rioja wines.  A series of illustrious names marks the family tree of the current Marquis of Vargas, names of exceptional individuals in the history and traditions of this important Spanish winegrowing region, inscribed in gold…  Especially important was Hilario de la Mata, the father of the current Marquis of Vargas, who for years occupied the presidency of one of the most emblematic wineries of La Rioja.  To say Marquis of Vargas in the world of wines is to name the saga of four generations dedicated to the production and sales of excellent Rioja wines.”

Climate controlled barrel aging room at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Climate controlled barrel aging room at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Our tasting was quite special, as we gained insight into the barrel aging of their wines.  Each vintage’s wines are aged in three different types of oak barrels and then blended:  French oak, “Russian” (often Slovenian) oak, and American oak.

Wine aging in barrels at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Wine aging in barrels at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

We tasted last year’s vintage from three different barrels and could taste quite a difference after 9 months in the barrels.  Our favorite, having nothing to do with our nationality, was the wine aged in American oak.  Of course, the final bottled wine is a blend of wines from each of the three different oak sources, creating a delicious final product (see below).

Grapes on the vine at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

Grapes on the vine at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

The hacienda vineyards are planted with three traditional Spanish red varietals>  Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Garnacha (French: Grenache).

Unique spiral staircase on fermenting tank at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Rioja region, Spain

Unique spiral staircase on fermenting tank at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Rioja region, Spain

The fermenting tanks are uniquely designed for high efficiency, with the bottoms angled so all the solids fall to the drain side for easy removal.  What was most interesting on the outside was the unique spiral staircases on some of the fermenting tanks, facilitating easy access to the tops for the workers and winemaker.  The entire facility works on a gravity flow system with minimal pumping.

The first round of tapas (on used barrel staves) with our wine tasting outdoors in front of the estate Hacienda Pradolagar at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

The first round of tapas (on used barrel staves) with our wine tasting outdoors in front of the estate Hacienda Pradolagar at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

After our tour of the vineyards and the winery, we enjoyed a delicious feast of a luncheon with quite a variety of tapas chosen to complement the estate’s red wines.

The final round of tapas (homemade chocolate truffles) with our wine tasting outdoors in front of the estate Hacienda Pradolagar at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

The final round of tapas (homemade chocolate truffles) with our wine tasting outdoors in front of the estate Hacienda Pradolagar at Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Ebro Valley, Riojas region, Spain

 The pairing of the 2009 Rioja with the homemade chocolate truffles was excellent and a delightful end to our viisit.

One thought on “Eat local, drink local — Bodegas del Marques de Vargas, Rioja region, Ebro Valley, Spain

  1. He estado explorando un poco por posts de alta calidad o entradas en blogs sobre estos contenidos. Explorando en Google por fin encontré este sitio web. Con lectura de esta articulo, estoy convencido que he encontrado lo que estaba buscando o al menos tengo esa extraña sensacion, he descubierto exactamente lo que necesitaba. ¡Por supuesto voy hacer que no se olvide este blog y recomendarlo, os pienso visitar regularmente.

    Saludos

    Like

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