I see the end of the tunnel

La Rioja vineyard.

You have all followed my journey through this program since we started. From my first experience in a spanish restaurant at Atrio in Cáceres, to a short stop in Santiago de Compostela, with a month in Madrid and finally landed here in Rioja. I can see the end in the horizon of a journey which have given me a memory for life. It feels like I know more about the Spanish gastronomy than I know about my own in Sweden. I don´t know if that´s a good thing, but what´s for sure – That knowledge can never be replaced or forgotten – It will be there for ever.

I´m a person who wants to develop and learn more about the gastronomy, something I really took the opportunity to do during my stay here. You have just seen a small part of everything that I experienced during these nearly 8 months here in Spain. So we´re having two weeks left and I keep on taking every free moment to study the gastronomy. Gastronomy in Rioja is 90% wines to me – but sccchhyy! don´t tell Francis 🙂 So where can be a better place for a wineloving chef to finish than with one of the most famous wine regions?

Rioja is a very interesting wine region because of the evolution we´ve seen. The variety from the old traditional ones to the innovative modern vintners who developed the region into a new type of wines. Rioja is today not only vanillia and dill snacks. I wanted to take the opportunity to study the differences of the different sub regions, the soil and the climat. How does the mountains affect the vineyard? Is it cooler in Rioja Alta? How does the tempranillo affects when you blend in new modern varietys of grapes? How does the terroir taste and which wine is my favorite? Questions are many and I think I got many answers after a couple of tours around the region and visit at vinerys.

Me at the Rermírez de Ganuza winery.
Most beautiful visit so far – Viñedos del Ternero up in the mountains at the only winery in D.O.C Rioja placed in Burgos. One of those “Up on top of the mountain, on a narrow and winding road that no one hardly can find vineyards”. Here I tried my first fresh tempranillo grape that gaved me lots of knowledge about the grape – to feel the leaves and taste the grape makes you understand it so much more. Most famous winery was a visit at Bodega Contador and the legend Benjamín Romeo. One of those who making innovative super high quality wines. I didn´t get the opportunity to try the 100 Parker judged Contador but some of his other wines, real good ones. Best white so far was Valenciso -09 viura/garnacha blanca. Most interesting Valenciso concrete fermentation tanks probabaly unique in Rioja and Fernando Remírez way of pressing grapes with a bag filled with water. Best red so far Fernando Remírez reserva -05 showed another great piece of Tempranillo. Most coveted one Contador -04.

Looking forward for my final week in Rioja and a tour to the more classic wineries. Which one will be my favorite wine of Rioja? Will I be able to try Contador and what will be my subject for the final contest? Next time you´ll find out. Until cheers with a sip of a classic tempranillo.

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