Wineries in Spanish Basque country

Jan 2nd, 2011, 12:51 PM
  #1  
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Wineries in Spanish Basque country

We are looking to tour a couple of wineries. Probably only 1 day but possibly 2 days. (Laguardia & surrounding area) Here are some that sounded appealing. Marques de Riscal in Elciego, Miguel Merino in Briones, Heredad Ugarte in Paganos, Vivanco in Briones, Vina Real in Laguardia, Ysios in Laguardia, Baigorri in Samaniego. Any recommendations are always appreciated.Also, has anyone visted Dinastia Vivanco-Museo de la Cultura del Vino museum?
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 01:03 PM
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Dinastia Vivanco-Museo is incredible - we had budgeted 2.5 hours there and could have easily spend 4 or 5....and I'm not a "museum person". Briones is also a lovely town to stroll around for an hour or so.

I've visited many of the bodegas you mentioned and can provide my personal insight (which may not be everyone's):

Marques de Riscal - interesting architecturally but I wasn't very impressed by the tour. If was quite a large tour group probably due to the exposure brought from Gehry's design of the hotel.

Heredad Ugarte - a good tour with very interesting wine caves. Smaller and more intimate atmosphere.

Ysios - architecture is stunning with the mountains in the backdrop. Our tour group was very small, guide was good.

Baigorri - unique tour as the bodega is underground several stories. Tour group was small (just 4 of us) and the guide was great. Complementary tapas with the wine were wonderful....wish we had booked the tour with the lunch included.

I've never visited Miguel Merino, Vivanco or Vina Real - on my list for a return visit!
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:41 PM
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All of these wineries have their own approach a making great wines, and all are worth a visit, but you will need to make reservations in advance. We normally do not expect to visit more than three bodegas in one day, four if there are close to each other.

Dinastia Vivanco is worth a visit. It presents an interesting history on the area and the production of wines in Spain and France.

If you can arrange a visit to Miguel Merino, then by all means do it. He's entertaining, enjoyable, friendly and recommended by Maribels (www.maribelsguides.com). Heredad Ugarte and Baigorri are two of my favorites in the area. Just make sure you have lunch in Paganos at Hector Oribe (iberiantraveler.com/restaurants_rioja.html)
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:35 PM
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Thanks so much, lots of help. Do you know anything of Vitoria, is it worth visitng. I believe there is a church that is being renovated and has a good tour. What about Pamplona. Thanks again.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:49 AM
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Vitoria is the capital of the Basque country and always worth a day or two. The cathedral is one of the prominent in the region. Its reconstruction and restoration is a major undertaking, and the tour is interesting, especially if you are an architect or engineer.

And yes, Pamplona is always worth a visit. It's much more than the annual fiesta.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 08:02 AM
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Robert, you are very helpful. I just called about the tour of the cathedral and it seems that the English tour is only on Wed. which probably will not work. I believe the cathedral is open daily from 10-2 and 4-7. Do you know if they have audio guides or any info in English if I visit at that time? Also, please tell me what might be interesting in Pampalona or the area. Thank you,
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:36 AM
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Pamplona is like a second home for us, so I might be a little biased, but you can check out the following website for information on the city and Navarra (www.turismo.navarra.es/eng/home/).

I'm not sure if they have audio guides at the cathedral at this point as everything is under renovation. The only times we've visited we had a guided tour, either on our own and with the Tourist Officials. You can check the website (www.catedralvitoria.com/ingles/) for more information.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:12 PM
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I'm surprised the english tour of the Cathedral in Vitoria is only on Wednesday. We visited on a Friday. You didn't mention what time of your your trip is to this area? Perhaps the english tour is not available on a particular day.

It's difficult to say is something is "worth" visiting without knowing more details on what you would shift or change in your trip. Pamplona and Vitoria are great places to visit (as are Bibao, San Sebastian, etc...) but if it means cutting other places out of your trip or reducing time somewhere then it's an offset.
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