A day in the City of Wine of Marqués de Riscal


A few days ago we were invited by Marqués de Riscal to learn more about his City of Wine, coinciding with the reopening of his winery in 1883 and the presentation of his website. The City of Wine combines tradition and modernity, joining an old winery with the impressive building designed by Frank Gehry that houses the Marqués de Riscal hotel, within which are the Marqués de Riscal Restaurant, and the 1860 Bistro.

The first contact after our arrival was a pairing dinner in the Chirel room, located in the San Vicente building, next to the modern winery. Before entering the hall, we were able to admire an exhibition on the hotel project, as well as verify that we were in the technological heart of the winery, next to the operations control center.

Francis Paniego is in charge of advising on everything related to catering, a hand that is noticeable once on the plate: the offer is meticulous and of category, we were able to give faith on two occasions, both at dinner, in which Dishes such as the cut of cheese, honey and truffle on a song of the Oja river or the curd of foie gras with caviar of red wine stood out, as in the meal the next day at the Marqués de Riscal restaurant, with a traditional chickpea stew with Monkfish and clams, or some supreme veal cheeks.

The next morning a rosary of activities awaited us, having as the central axis the visit to the wineries, both the modern facilities and the renovated 1883 winery. The visit ended with the presentation of the website, and some great moments in the Aula Marqués de Riscal.

Presentation of the Marqués de Riscal website

After years of having a website that could be considered a static catalog, Marqués de Riscal has decided to adapt to new technologies with the aim of interacting with its potential clients, offering them clear and visual information. The videocatas, carried out by Jesús Bernard, are one of the new features that are incorporated, which are accessed through the files for each wine.

This new website offers comprehensive information on everything related to the different aspects that surround Marqués de Riscal and its city of wine, whether making a reservation at the hotel, choosing a wine, planning a visit to the winery or making one virtually, as well as accessing the Marqués de Riscal TV channel.

The design is simple, without heavy introductions or convoluted paths, it goes to the point in what it intends: to offer the clearest and most immediate information possible. It is complemented by access to its channels on social networks, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, fully integrated and constantly updated.

The new winery from 1883

The winery has been completely reconverted with new technology, coinciding with the purchase by Marqués de Riscal of the Bodegas Domecq in Elciego, specifically the Marqués de Arienzo brand, as well as several neighboring estates, which already represent 500 hectares of vineyards owned . This acquisition introduced the brand into the world of crianza, accustomed until that moment to reserves and large reserves. All these changes made necessary a remodeling that would make it possible to produce premium and super-premium wines in a renovated winery.

The winery had only been in operation for a few days, centuries-old walls in sweet contrast with new materials and cutting-edge technologies such as cryogenization, or French oak tanks in a climate-controlled room. We checked how the manual grape selection process was carried out, on a table next to the door, in the open air.

From there, the grapes are transported through a mechanized and clean process that allows the shortest possible time to pass between the harvest and the barrel. Each barrel has a blackboard with the necessary data to identify its origin and the date of harvest, and in the main room, a screen shows all the work information, which can be easily consulted at any time.

The Marqués de Riscal classroom

Luckily within the very tight program we had time to visit the Marqués de Riscal Classroom. There Rafael Ruiz Isla was waiting for us to tell us about the need for a training space for room professionals, since the path of wine does not end when it leaves the wineries, but storage and treatment in the room is essential for the final image of wine, an aspect that is no longer in the hands of the winemakers, and that falls with great importance on those who handle the wine. These words by Ruiz Isla summarize the question well:

If we break the chain of knowledge and care, all the effort goes to waste, the bottle still has our name but the quality changes.

What was Aula Marqués de Arienzo, changes its name with the purchase of the Domecq wineries in Elciego, calling it Aula Marqués de Riscal since last April. Founded in 1991, more than 15,000 students have been trained in it to date. Within the program, the entire Riscal range is usually tasted, later making a visit to the winery and finally an in-depth varietal tasting.

Our day ended with a visit to the Castejones farm, surrounded by vineyards on all four sides, finishing off an intense twenty-four hours in which we breathe wine and tradition.

More information | Marqués de Riscal Directly to the Paladar | Wine tourism in Spain: special wineries, unique places

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