Anyone heading to Logroño for the wine festival next year be warned. It’s not for those who can’t take late nights. At 2.00 a.m. Calle Laurel, the street of 100 tapas bars and barrels of wine, was heaving. Children played underfoot, grandparents gazed on benignly, and parents stood around, their arms on the barrels that served as tables outside the bars, the aroma of spicy chorizo oozing from the garlicky bread in their hands.
Logroño, Capital of Rioja and Centre of Wine Production
Logroño is the centre of Rioja wine production, a wine that holds a very special place in the collective memory of the locals. Even the paving stones have a grape and vine motif, and you are never far from cellars that invite you in to taste their wares. A glass of excellent Rioja at any one of the pavement cafés will cost under €2.
Get there early in the festival period for the colourful parades, the treading of the grapes by the last old couple to do so, and the arrival of the bulls. This is wine country, after all, and no fiesta would be fulfilled without a bull-fight. The “fountain of wine” in the Gran Via is initiated at the beginning of the week, spurting rich red Rioja – not really, it used to be, but now it’s coloured water.
The Wine Festival in Rioja
Throughout the day and evening, groups of musicians in colourful costume parade and play traditional tunes, followed by the usual line of little boys carrying flags. Sometimes the music clashes when a sombreroed Mariachi