A good friend who lives and works in Rioja invited me, a couple of pals also in the trade and another with his own jet (what a fantastic way to travel) to spend a few days in the beautiful town of Haro. The weather was good, the food tasty and the wines excellent. It's great to visit a place where 90% of the population are involved directly (or indirectly) with the wines of the region. There are a fantastic range of restaurants and tapas bars where staff are so keen to keep you drinking the local wines that plates of delicious complimentary nibbles arrive at regular intervals well into the early hours.
We were in Spain to visit Bodega Luis Alegre which is a modern winery situated only a few kilometres from Haro. After being shown around the vineyards and production areas during the morning we sat down for a very long lunch in their roof top dining room complete with sun terrace and lawn!
Alex, the owner and head wine maker, explained that they do things a little different to the norm. Some of their wines are not classified tinto, crianza, reserva etc. but are given individual Mexican (his wife's nationality) names.
Having tasted the whole range, well someone has to do it, I settled on the following to feature on our list:
Barrel Fermented White: a lovely clean, fresh wine (Malvasia and Viura) with hints of vanilla, pineapple, peach and apricot. A great balance between fruit, acidity and alcohol lead to a long aftertaste.
Tempranillo Rosado: fruits of the forest, raspberries and cranberries on the nose. This wine is bright, raspberry pink in colour, juicy and rich on the palate. Ideal when the sun shines on our balcony!
Koden: at just under £20 on our list I think you would struggle to find a better Rioja for this price in a restaurant. 100% Tempranillo, this wine is ruby red in colour. Classic Rioja taste of red fruits, liquorice and vanilla.
Pontac: their flagship red. 95% Tempranillo and 14% alcohol - aged in French oak for 14 months this wine is full bodied, tannic but well balanced. Ripe black fruit with hints of black pepper on the nose.
I hope you enjoy the wines here at the Brasserie, however, if you get the chance to visit Haro I am sure that Alex and Martin would be pleased to welcome you at Bedega Luis Alegre.