This past weekend was Carnaval and it was a complete 360 from my study abroad experience in the best possible way. Unlike Cadiz where I was uncomfortably wet from the rain, this year it was all sunshine. I was surrounded by delicious food, a parade full of my students and good friends all while in my Minnie Mouse ears and gloves. I felt like a veteran at February 2017's Carnaval while February 2015 was a different story that I'd rather not relive. However, you can here. Part of this year's festivities included a local winery tour to bodega #4 for me. It is conveniently located across the bridge, less than a 15 minute walk from my apartment. The walkability of Logroño never ceases to amaze me.
I won't detail the process of the wine tasting this time. You can check out these posts to understand more of that! What stood out about Franco Españolas was the emphasis on history. The bodega has been around for over 125 years and has physically changed style-wise, but has kept it's local, home-like feel. I love eclectic and modern looking bodegas like Marques de Riscal, but I also admire the old school-new school vibe Franco Españolas had going on too. The bodega itself is family-orientated like many other bodegas, which I think is a nod to Spain's culture of taking care of family and staying close. Family businesses are important and it shows since the owners are the 3rd generation to run the bodega. Clearly they know what they're doing and it's always nice to support local businesses even while living abroad!
As far as the wine tasting, I loved that they offered reserva and gran reserva wines. I discussed the breakdown of wine in my tour of Campillo, but these are wines that have been in oak for at least 1 year, in the bottle for at least 3 years for gran reserva and 2 years for reserva. In other words, I appreciated getting the expensive wine (though to be honest I didn't taste a significant difference this time). However, the reigning Queen of England is also a fan of La Rioja wine and sent a thank you note to the bodega for their selection. I also learned that the bodega has a history of believing wine is like poetry. Thus some barrels of wine are engraved with poems. The arts kid in me squealed as I went on to enjoy the rest of the visit before heading to enjoy the Carnaval parade .
Do you prefer wine or beer? Does your choice depend on the meal or occasion?
I'd rather splurge on a good meal than a nice hotel, wine than water and plane tickets than club covers. Traveling and eating are my two favorite things, so follow my journey to see where I go and eat next! I'm just living my best life.