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Touring bodegas in La Rioja

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Wine is at the very heart of La Rioja’s identity (wriojawine.com), and few people will pass through without wanting to visit a bodega and taste a few vinos. In Haro, there are a dozen bodegas within walking distance of town, most clustered around the train station – they offer daily tours (usually in English in the mornings), but you have to make a reservation (Haro turismo can advise about current tour times). Some are free, some charge €3–5 for tours and tastings lasting from ninety minutes to two hours. Scores of other wineries lie within half an hour’s drive of Haro or Logroño, and tend to be open for drop-in visits without appointment. They’ve all got wine shops attached, and some have excellent restaurants. A good target is the striking village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra – you’ll see its hill-top church and castle on the drive across to Haro – which has no fewer than sixteen wineries in the vicinity, while some of the most celebrated vineyards lie close to the town of Laguardia, 19km northwest of Logroño or 26km east of Haro, in the Basque Rioja Alavesa region.

Bodegas Bilnaínast 941 310 147, wbodegasbilbainas.com. One of the oldest bodegas in Haro, established in 1901, home of the classic Viña Pomal wines and their flagship contemporary label, La Vicalanda.

Bodegas Muga t 941 311 825, wbodegasmuga.com. Muga has a good visitor centre in Haro where you can learn about its painstaking traditional methods, such as using egg whites to clean the wine of impurities.

La Encina, Bodegas y Viñedos t 941 305 630, wlaencinabodegas.com. Just to the north of Haro, overlooking the river at the pretty village of Briñas, is this classy, minimalist winery making wines under the Tobelos name.

López de Heredia t 941 310 244, whttp://www.lopezdeheredia.com. Stand out attraction at this Haro winery is the eye-catching Modernist wine shop designed by Zaha Hadid.

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