Proposed Rioja Itinerary

Jul 24th, 2008, 04:04 PM
  #1  
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Proposed Rioja Itinerary

Hello,
I've been reading the Rioja posts here and have printed out, highlighted, circled and written all over Maribel's Rioja guide and I think I have my itinerary all worked out, but I have a few last minute questions.

We've reserved the 10:00 Muga tour and had planned on the 12:00 Heredad Ugarte tour, but read that there wasn't enough time to make that work? If it truly won't, is there a small/family type bodega that is comparable that anyone would recommend that is close by?

We were then planning a late lunch in Laguardia and the 5:30 El Fabulista tour. This might be a lot for a day, but we want to see as much as we can. The next day we were going to do the 11:00 tour at Biagorri before our group of 4 splits off to Barcelona and San Sebastian.

We are staying at Villa de Abalos. I think they do breakfast at 9:00 - is it a big, sit down breakfast, or could we eat before the 10:00 Muga tour at 10:00?

Thank you!
cspixie is offline  
Jul 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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The Muga tour takes 1/1-2 hours, but you can cut it short to make the drive to the Ugarte bodega, but why miss out on the wine sampling, which comes at the end of the tour?

If you're driving, you should be able to make it to Ugarte in time for the 11:00 tour, but it would be pushing it somewhat. You might want to contact Urgarte to see about changing your reservations to a later hour, if possible, but the tour will be in Spanish.

Trying to do a wine tour following a hearty lunch can be a bit disappointing. I highly recommend rescheduling it for another time.

The breakfast at Villa de Abalos is not something you want to rush, but if you are down in the breakfast room right at nine, you should be able to make the tour at Muga. Missing breakfast would be a wasted opportunity. Merche is a good chef, very creative.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 01:45 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for your reply! We don't want to cut the Muga tour short and miss the wine tasting, so I'm looking for a good second winery to visit that does a tour around 1:00. Any suggestions? I liked Maribel's idea to mix types (big mixed with small/family) but am certainly open to anything.

We may cut the after-lunch tour as per your suggestion and just wander around town a bit.

I've heard wonderful things about the food at Villa de Abalos and am certainly looking forward to that.
cspixie is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 03:35 PM
  #4  
 
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If you can't fit in another winery after Muga, you might just try going to Lopez de Heredia, up the road from Muga. They have a shop, separate from the tour, so you can taste and buy there. Personally, I feel that, once you have seen one winery tour, you have pretty much seen them all.

I wouldn't abandon El Fabulista tour. It is a pretty relaxed affair and a 5:30 start time leaves you with a lot of time to let any lunch work its way through.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 09:09 PM
  #5  
 
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I'm afraid that I will have to disagree with travelgourmet regarding the bodegas and the wine making process. We have been to at least two dozens bodegas in the Rioja over the last few years. The fundamental process is the same, but each winery is different in its approach. BaiGorri is completely different from Miguel Marino who is different from the Marques de Riscal who in turn is different from El Fabulista.

If you want to sample the best wines of the Rioja Alavesa then I suggest you head for the Vinoteca in Elciego before heading for lunch. They have an excellent selection and the prices are very reasonable.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 12:13 PM
  #6  
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Thank you travelgourmet - we've decided not to abandon the El Fabulista tour. It does sound very interesting and we were excited to do it.

I looked at Lopez de Heredia's website and they say they do a 2hr tour, available at any time with reservations, but didn't mention that you could stop in to their shop. I like that idea (giving us two tours and one tasting-only). Can you just stop into the shop anytime?

Robert2533, we are planning the Biagorri tour Tuesday morning at well (at 11) so I'm hoping we'll have a well-rounded visit...

cspixie is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 12:18 PM
  #7  
 
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Can you just stop into the shop anytime?

I think so, but not sure about the hours. I definitely went as a follow on to the Muga tour - you could walk between them in a few minutes. The shop is a bit of an architectural landmark and was designed by Zaha Hadid.
travelgourmet is offline  
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