What is the best way to spend a rainy day when in San Sebastián? Wine tasting. It had been raining all morning and I was originally planning on going to Biarritz but my plans changed. That’s the great thing about spontaneity. My well trusted local guide took us to Marqués de Riscal, a winery designed by Frank Gehry. I was chomping on blood sausage pintxos when I saw the picture on the internet and I was sold immediately.
The drive is about 2 hours away and we all took turns playing DJ with our ipods. My friend Laura, aka Miss Buttercup, could lip sync to almost all of the songs including rap with all the profanities. Go Laura! The winery is majestic. The story is that he wasn’t really sold on building a winery until he tasted a bottle of Rioja 2001. Definitively a great way to persuade people to do things for you. This super modern building that looks like it was made out of metallic ribbon is perched on top of the gorgeous vineyard. The juxtaposition of old and new is really well played. You have to sign up to go on the tour and more importantly, taste the wine. The only tour available was in Spanish so it was easy for me to tune out and wander around taking photos.
The tour was a bit serious, classroom like. There was a video about the history of the vineyard and all I could think of was that this tour would be so much more enjoyable with a glass of Rioja in my hand. After about an hour of touring the various cellars, bottling and corking machines, we were finally able to get our hands on the wine. The red wine was good, the white not so much. And they know this too.
After the nice wine tasting (driver not included here), we headed back towards the center of San Sebastián. My rainy day plan couldn’t have played out better than this and I am so grateful we went.
p.s. thanks to the best local tour guide/driver/coffee delivery