Marquis De Riscal Winery

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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If you're a wine lover visiting the Iberian peninsula, there's a new attraction at an important viticulture stop on your travel itinerary--the Marquis de Riscal winery. Founded in the mid-19th century, this Rioja winery is one of the oldest in the Basque region of Spain. Its grape varietals include Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Sauvignon Blanc, and more. Grapes are hand selected and the average vine age is 15 years.

The new attraction at this established Marquis de Riscal winery is a remodeled and reconstructed cellar and building. The architect is Frank Gehry, who designed the renowned Guggenheim Museum in nearby Bilbao, which opened in 1997. The winery plan--with its modern lines and angular contours of titanium and steel--echoes certain elements of the museum.

The Marquis de Riscal winery, begun in 1998 and completed in 2003, includes a conference center, a restaurant, an exhibition area, and a wine-tasting room in addition to the wine cellars themselves. Total interior space is some 35,500 square feet. The exterior looks something like an airplane perhaps (at least from one angle), with double-sided titanium in gold, silver, and rose as well as stone and glass. Located in El Ciego, Spain, the renovation has proven successful enough that Gehry has been commissioned for another similar project.

Marquis de Riscal Winery: Vintages

The red wines include Reserva (12 months in oak cask), Gran Reserva (29 months in cask), Rose (26 months), Baron de Chirel (26 months), and Riscal 1860. The whites include Rueda Verdejo, Reserva Limousin, and Sauvignon--all delicious fresh wines. Shaw Ross in Florida are the American importers.


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