The Mark Wine News Winter '18 Volume 8.1 - Page 13

promote a gentle more Burgundian style of Rioja, and therefore every step of the winemaking process is handled via “IFO’s” – Identified Flying Objects. With the use of the IFO system, never a pump will enter the winemaking process ever. Besides being architecturally breathtaking, the winery operation was truly a masterpiece. As was the normal schedule in Spain, we headed out for a fantastic local dinner at around 9pm in Logroño at La Galeria for some more Jamon, Arroz Negro and Morcilla! Contino, CVNE & Rioja Baja On Tuesday morning we visited Contino. Contino is an estate-based winery, based on a 62 hectare vineyard that is at the beginning of La Rioja Alavesa, not far from Logroño. The vineyard is in a 100 hectare meander of the River Ebro, facing south, at 400 meters altitude. We visited with winemaker Jesús Madrazo, whose father founded the winery back in 1974. The wines were absolutely exquisite, they were one of the many highlights of the trip. That concluded our visits to wineries within the CVNE portfolio. The group then forged ahead to explore Bodegas Viña Herminia, located in Rioja Baja, at the southeastern end of La Rioja. We were treated to another incredible feast over lunch, and then an unforgettable dinner Learning about Sherry in Jerez, Lustau WINTER 2018 In the cellar at CVNE in Logroño at Wine Fandango – including what the group voted as the best Croquetas of the whole trip. The Magical Vineyards of Ribera del Duero Wednesday, was our trip to Ribera del Duero, it was one of those unforgettable days in the wine business. With almost perfect weather in the 70’s and blue skies, we were given a magical and mystical behind the scenes tour of the vineyards and winery of Vega Sicilia. Pablo Alvarez, Vega Sicilia’s owner, stopped by to share a glass with us and we were given a complete portfolio tasting including Oremus, Pintia, Macan, Alion, Valbuena and Unico. A short ride from there and we visited Abadia Retuerta. Travelling in jeeps, we traversed the gravelly benchland on the south side of the Duero River reaching a peak elevation of more than 850 meters to take in the breathtaking view of the whole estate while tasting the principal wine of the estate “Seleccion Especial.” Following the tour and tasting we were treated to a reception in the courtyard of the Abadia, which now also functions as a luxury hotel retreat along with a one Michelin star restaurant. The day was not over, as we headed to Madrid, and after checking into our hotel, the group was treated to a fabulous soccer match between Real Madrid and Real Betis with host Vega Sicilia. We got to see soccer superstars Ronaldo and Gareth Bale up close and personal with the VIP tickets they had 11