You have to be somewhat of an athlete to work at Restaurante Martín Berasategui, to endure the late nights of service and early mornings of prep. But to continue this early-to-rise routine on your weekends (mondays and tuesdays), you have to be somewhat of a champion, especially if the day’s itinerary includes a two hour drive to wine country for three bodega tours. Buuuf! But who can say no to beautiful wine country?


Or no to juicy, velvety tannins?


Or to decades of family tradition and treasures coveted beneath an ancient pueblo in Laguardia?

Ladder to Vino

Not I. I say, iepa!

We began with two, stunning large bodegas.


Both were huge, state-of-the-art facilities and housed barrels upon barrels of vino. I spent quite some time just admiring the architecture and design!


Of course the highlight was the wine. We also had a small olive oil tasting followed by lunch at bodega Bai Gorri. The stunning views from atop the hills, the sleek design of the interior design and the overall ambience were just added bonuses.

Bai Gorri


This trip could not have been possible without the aid of a charming new friend, Jon of Eskerrik asko, Jon! And thank you to Jon’s friends, Such welcoming, knowledgeable people. I learned a lot about carbonic maceration, wine storage, and most importantly, how to transport wine in a winery using ‘UFOs’ or in Spanish, ‘OVNIs’ (objeto volante no identificado).

We wrapped up the rioja visit with a stroll through Laguardia. So quaint and picturesque.

Minus the moldy caves. These are moldwebs. Yes, mold not cob, webs. I suppose I prefer them to spidery caves, although I have yet to experience spidery caves, not that I anticipate visiting any any time soon. Then again, la choza de David de Jorge, aka Hagrid’s hut, where I spent most of my days, is kind of spidery…as is my terraza here in Lasarte…ay. Back to vino.

But without mold there cannot be rioja. Pues, viva molde!

For some reason this photo reminds me of the texture of oobleck (Dr. Seuss reference). What a great book that was. Oobleck has nothing to do with vino but I thought this barrel of old, old wine was texturally intriguing. Later we tried a glass of it followed by a glass of 2010 rioja. The old rioja had a strong sidra taste to it. Bizarre! But an intimate and wonderful experience nonetheless to wrap up our rioja tour.

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