A Quick Video Visit to the Rioja Wine Route Reply

Valley Briones RiojaThis four-minute video takes us on a brief tour of the Rioja Alavesa wine region. Instead of voiceover they have intelligently opted for music–Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partirè)–with Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. The tour takes us to the medieval town of El Ciego with its palaces, noble houses and fine eating spots, followed by Briones, another historical town with a smashing view over orchards and vineyards and impressive 16th to 18th-century architecture. Briones also has one of Spain’s most authentic 19th-century pharmacies, the much-visited Botica de Rabal.

Of course there are wineries, ranging from 500-year-old cellars to the rabidly modern Marqués de Riscal bodega and hotel designed by Frank Gehry, and the Isios bodega by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. More…


Spain… On the Road Again–Part 5 Reply

Basking in Spanish Wine and Cuisine in the Basque Country

On Road AgainGwyneth and Mario greet the day at the astonishing Marqués de Riscal Hotel with a behind the scenes vineyard tour which includes a sublime bottle of 1958 vintage wine opened by breaking the neck of the bottle with red hot tongs. Mark joins Gwyneth for some vine-side grilling of fresh Rioja vegetables where they learn a valuable barbecue tip: to revive the waning coals, sprinkle salt on them. Both Mario and Gwyneth head home for the weekend, and Mark and Claudia set out for San Sebastián with the glee of two school kids playing hooky. More…

Spain… On the Road Again–Part 4 Reply

Landmarks, Legends and the Lap of Luxury

Guggenheim Bilbao duskIn this first of two programs dedicated to the Basque Country, Gwyneth and Mario visit Bilbao (“a city in a bowl of green”) and its municipal-life-transforming Guggenheim Museum (which the incorrigible Mario calls “The Googie”) where they have a cordial and informative interview with Frank Gehry himself, who offers some fascinating insight into the construction of the building. Meanwhile Mark and Claudia are off into the green hills of Vasconia to visit Vitor, a chef specialized in grilling–especially seafood– who is such a perfectionist that he makes his own charcoal. The acid test is in the grilling and our two pilgrims are poleaxed by his shrimp, sea cucumbers (espardeñas), and caviar. More…