Sunday, February 2, 2014

Birthdays and Bodegas

This weekend it was my friend Steph's birthday and so my friends who are spread out all over Spain reunited in Logroño for the weekend to celebrate. On Friday we went out to dinner and surprised her with cupcakes and trick candles!

Then on Saturday, we surprised her by going to visit a well known bodega (winery) in Haro, which is the wine capital of La Rioja and also the town I worked in my first year as an auxiliar. We decided to visit Bodegas Cune, who are especially famous this year because their 2004 Imperial Gran Reserva was named the best wine in the world in 2013 by Wine Spectator. Steph was especially excited because she wanted to buy a bottle, but the wine is so popular that they have sold all of the 2004 and the 2005 bottles!

This is the inner courtyard of the bodega where we froze our bums off listening to the tour guide tell us about how they select, prepare, and squeeze their grapes.  (The Imperial wines are made of grapes that come from fifty year old vines!)

This is the first place the grapes go to ferment. These barrels always have wine in them to keep the wood moist and ready for the next harvest's fermentation.  

This is where the barreled wines are stored. This bodega has three different locations and this location is where they store the Imperial wines. These wines spend three years in barrels and then go to be bottled. This storage area was designed by Gustav Eiffel! Maybe you can see some similarities between the Eiffel Tower and the ceiling....

This is where they store the bottles while they are maturing. This area is always kept at a similar temperature, humidity and with low lighting which is the perfect environment for maturing wines. Younger wines spend less time in bottles, but the Gran Reservas can spend up to five years in a bottle.  

This is the entrance to the Wine Cemetery. This area is a cave that has been carved out of a mountain to store the best and oldest wines from the bodega. They have wines from the beginning of the 1900's in the cemetery. The tour guide said that the acidity of the grape allows it a long maturation period, which means that these wines can be stored for years before they are no longer drinkable.  This particular mountain has a mold that grows inside, and the bodega allows it because they feel that it adds an extra layer of protection to the bottles and helps them to stay at a constant temperature and humidity. They let us go in and see it and I'm still not convinced that it's not a health hazard to allow the public in....

Then of course at the end of the tour they provide a white and a red wine for you to try. We also got to take home the glasses we drank out of!

And on the way home we were graced with a beautiful sunset over the Cantabrian mountain range. 

Happy birthday Steph!!

(Not all of these pictures were taken by me...I stole some of them from friends!)


  1. It was a great weekend! Thanks for sharing your pictures! I hope to see you again soon if we don't all die from mold poisoning :p

    1. Yeah it was lots of fun!! I'm sure I'll see you soon, I don't think I have any symptoms of mold poisoning haha...

  2. Awe you posted a picture of a red door just for me? :) I love the blog, the composition is great. Thanks for sharing. Mom

    1. I always take pictures of doors for you! Glad you like it :)