Rioja is probably Spain's most famous wine region, best known for its oak aged red wines. But Rioja is more than a classic wine of style, it can also be wine of place, coming from 144 different villages divided in 3 large subzones, including some of the best terroirs in the word.
Join us for a deep dive in the three Rioja subregions (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental) with 3 winemakers from each of the zones sharing their experience. They will discuss differences in climate, soils, grape varieties and wine styles and how Rioja is more than the sum of its parts.
Peter Arijs is the educational and global project manager for the DOCa Rioja. Peter holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Ghent University (Belgium) and has been working in wine education for several years. He obtained the WSET Diploma in 2020 with a distinction grade, for which he was awarded the Royal Tokaj Award. He is also a certified educator for the Spanish Wine Scholar program of Wine Scholar Guild.
Mayte Calvo de la Banda is the technical director of Bodegas Bilbainas since 2019. Born in Ezcaray (La Rioja, Spain), she has a degree in Chemistry and Oenology from the University of Rioja and was a professor at this university within the area of oenology. Her professional career has been consolidated in prestigious DOCa wineries and her extensive experience has positioned her as one of the most outstanding professionals in the area. In 2019, she arrived at Bodegas Bilbainas, accepting the challenge of maintaining the historical legacy of its brands and continuing to produce great wines up to the great vineyards and wineries in the municipality of Haro. According to Calvo de la Banda, "the wine must be understood from the vineyard, knowing how to interpret each variety, each plot and knowing how to maximize everything that nature gives us."
Tao Platon graduated in Enology from the University of Valladolid, obtaining the award from extraordinary academic merit. He is also WSET Diploma and second stage MW student. He has made wine in places as different as Bordeaux, Burgundy, New Zealand and the Spanish Duero, learning about different winemaking philosophies and techniques. On his travels, he developed a global perspective and a strong desire to contribute to a more authentic and sustainable world of wine. In 2016 he joined Península Vinicultores as head winemaker and technical director, where, among other projects, he leads the production of a new generation of terroir-driven wines from Rioja Alavesa at Bodega Bideona.
Javier Arizcuren is an architect, winery designer, master's degree in viticulture and oenology from the University of La Rioja and fifth generation of winegrowers in the municipality of Quel in Rioja Oriental. He took over the family vineyard in 2009, focusing on the recovery of the traditional varieties of the Sierra de Yerga. Since then, he has been carrying out important work to recover old vineyards while planting new plots of mazuelo, garnacha and graciano in the highest part of the municipality. In 2016, he opened his urban winery “Arizcuren” in the centre of the city of Logroño, where currently 25,000 bottles are produced, spread over more than 10 references.
Bordeaux. Burgundy. Barolo. Rioja. Just the mere mention of any one of these wine regions conjures images of the world’s best wines all sharing the ability to age for decades. The wines of Rioja have earned their place amongst this elite group; and whilst consumer tastes may swing like a clock’s pendulum, the practice of aging wines in Rioja helps define its successful past, present, and future.
Lisa's Pick: A “must-view” for wine lovers intending to hike the Camino; visually stunning and inspiring.
In the fall of 2019, Wine Scholar Guild member, Bill “Papi” Sanders from Nashville, Tennessee walked the 790 km/500 mile Camino Frances (French Way) route of the El Camino de Santiago. Being 65 years young at the time, he carried only what could be stuffed in his 36-liter backpack. For over 1,000 years, folks have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain where it is believed the remains of Jesus Christ’s apostle Saint James are interred. In addition to its spiritual significance, it’s no coincidence that the “Way of St. James” passes through some of Spain’s oldest and most famous wine regions. Bill will share his experiences and discuss the wines on, perhaps, the most unique, inspirational, and demanding food and wine adventure on earth. His journey begins in Paris drinking grower Champagne before embarking on his 35-day journey across the Pyrenes and through the Spanish regions of Navarra, Rioja, Castillo y León, and Galicia. Pour yourself a glass of Albariño or Rioja and join Bill’s trek.
In March 2005, Bill finished third in a professional olive oil tasting course at the University of California-Davis’ Olive Oil Center. Upon conclusion of the course, he drove to Napa for some winery touring where he began to consider learning to taste wine. After all, wine had to be more fun than olive oil. It wasn’t long before he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone Professional Wine Studies Program where he completed programs in Mastering Wine I & II and Wines of Spain (sparking a dream of walking El Camino de Santiago).
His passion for wine earned him a master’s certificate in the Rhone and Provence regions from the Wine Scholar Guild. In 2010, he chaired the French Wine Society’s (Wine Scholar Guild) annual three-day conference held at the French Embassy in Washington, DC. Additionally, He has traveled extensively to the great wine and olive oil regions of Europe and the U.S., authored an olive oil, wine and food blog Crush+Press, and is a frequent attendee of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon. Bill has been involved in the international olive oil industry for over 20 years.
In 2019, Bill fulfilled his dream of walking the 500-mile Camino Francés route of the ancient El Camino de Santiago. Today, Bill resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he is teaching his three grand-kiddos the ways of the world.
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