The fiery Mediterranean sun beats down on a rugged landscape of oak and stone, where lush vineyards flourish between the mighty Ebro and Oja rivers and stoic Iberian mountain ranges shade fertile plains beneath. Arid gusts of wind breathe life into the stillness of the day, seasoning the terrain with the aroma of land and vine as fabled castles speckle the scenery like coordinates across the map of time.
Where once Romans and Celtiberians, Visigoths and Moors claimed the region with sword and spear, hardworking hands now proudly cultivate an abundant bounty admired the world over. Born of ancient feuds and intrigue, La Rioja has resiliently weathered the changing storms of invasion by transmuting the blood of ages into coursing springs of scarlet vintages. A center for the flourishing of Spanish culture, the first words of the Castilian language are said to have been written within the walls of the ancient San Millán monasteries that inhabit the region. The intertwining of the earthly and the spiritual is a bold thread that runs through La Rioja’s heritage just as the region’s Way of St. John weaves through its landscape. Where the northernmost route from the Pyrenees converges in La Rioja with the southerly route originating at the Mediterranean, the Way of St. John has ushered pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela for centuries.
Unpretentious and telluric, La Rioja’s viticulture honors a profound respect for nature and the ingenuity required for facing its capricious character. Defined by tradition, La Rioja’s legacy is imbued into every bottle of its coveted wines and furthered only by its gastronomic offerings. To experience the allure of La Rioja is to imbibe the richness of its tierra, its spirit and its lineage with every luminous sip.
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.