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Alex Judge

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Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by Alex Judge » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:36 pm

Hey all, so I know this is going to sound entirely unbelievable, but I actually won a Wine Enthusiast sweepstakes for a free trip for two to Spain! :mrgreen: Basically the trip includes a couple of nights at Marques de Riscal in Rioja (including a tour, tasting, dinner, etc.), an excursion to Logrono one night, and a day/night in Madrid to cap it all off (schedule attached). I'll be leaving this Saturday and I'm super excited about it (still in disbelief).

So there's actually tons of free time on the trip, and I thought before going I'd just ask you all if there's anything I absolutely shouldn't miss while there. Any kind of recommendations welcome - especially if wine-related :)

Also they asked me to facebook/tweet/social media about the trip so if you want to follow updates on Twitter @alcjudge
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Marqués de Riscal Trip Itinerary.pdf
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-Alex
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Shaji M

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Re: Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by Shaji M » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:45 pm

Alex,
Congratulations! You are probably the first person I know who actually won at such a contest! We were in Madrid and Ribera del Duero last November. If you get the time check out the Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofia museum for some incredible works of art. The Westin which is close to the Museo del Prado has a fine bar where you could avail of their libations! On the way to Rioja, there are several places (notably in Aranda de Duero and Lerma) where you can possibly stop for lunch and try the local lamb dish lechazo. We didn't make it as far as Rioja on our trip, but you could time permitting, think of a trip to the Pays Basque. No shortage of good food and fine there! Have fun!
-Shaji
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Jenise

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Re: Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by Jenise » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:10 pm

That's sick! You lucky guy. No recco's for you, just envy!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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JC (NC)

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Re: Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by JC (NC) » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:04 am

You might want to arrange dinner at Botin in the center of Madrid--historic old restaurant known among other things for its roast suckling pig.
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John S

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Re: Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by John S » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:10 am

Wow, congrats on the free trip. I was just in Spain a few months ago. The hotel is quite a spectacular building. I'd book a tour at Lopez de Heredia, although its unlikely they'll have an opening this late - but it's worth a try. Actually, you can just walk in to the tasting room at LDH now too, and pay 2 euros for a small glass of a few of their wines. Muga is very close to Heredia, and you can just wander in and do a tasting there as well. Both are highly recommended. Most other places require appointments.

Lagardia is the most scenic town in the region, and its worth a visit. It's a nice drive from Haro. There are some good wineries along the way as well, but again, appointments are needed.

When in Logrono, definitely do the tapas experience there. Laurel Street in the old town is lined with restaurant after restaurant, and you buy a tapas or two at each, and a glass or two of Rioja as well of course, and wander up and down the street with all the other people - great fun!

There's a similar tapas street in Madrid - Calle Cava Baja that's worth a visit too. Just 5 minutes walk south of the Plaza Mayor. The Prado and Reine Sophia art museums mentioned earlier are also highly recommended. Checking out the madness in Puerta del Sol at night is fun. The Mercado is an interesting place for a snack, though the Barcelona market is much nicer. I like wandering around Retiro park on a nice day.

If you are driving from Madrid to Rioja, Segovia or Salamanca are worthy stopping points.

Have fun!
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Alex Judge

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Re: Trip to Rioja/Madrid this Saturday!

by Alex Judge » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:30 pm

Thanks all - just about to head to the airport! I'll let you know how it all goes! :D
-Alex

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