Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Visiting a Stunning Winery: Bodegas Baigorri in Rioja, Spain

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Bodegas Baigorri

As part of the 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC), I had the luck and pleasure to spend an extraordinary evening at Bodegas Baigorri, an amazing winery in the Rioja Alavesa region.

The 2013 DWCC – formerly called European Wine Bloggers Conference - took place in Logroño (Spain) from Friday, October 25 to Sunday, October 27, 2013. The DWCC is a three-day event that provides a platform for the global wine community to address today's online communications opportunities. As in previous years, the 2013 conference was a highly entertaining and educational mix of workshops, lectures, tastings and winery visits with lunches/dinners.

The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja
Rioja, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Turkey …. Rioja – EWBC 2013 Back in Spain

The first day ended with a winery visit and dinner at the winery. We were put randomly on 6 buses and each bus went to a different winery. I belonged to the lucky ones that were put on the bus to Bodegas Baigorri.

Picture: Bodegas Baigorri

It was an extraordinary evening, comprising 3 parts: (1) Reception on the top floor of the winery. (2) Tour of Bodegas Baigorri. (3) Dinner with tasting.


Bodegas Baigorri not only makes excellent wines, but the winery itself is a major architectural statement. Imagine an open concept home, dug into the hillside, where every level is visible from top to bottom. A striking glass atrium, through which you enter the winery, sits on top of it.

We started the evening in the glass atrium, with a white wine - Baigorri Blanco 2011 Fermentado en barrique - and some delicious hors d'oeuvres.

Pictures: Reception at Bodegas Baigorri

The glass atrium is bright and appropriately sparse with furnishings. The view from the glass atrium of the Rioja Alavesa region is amazing. The Bodegas Baigorri vineyards are all within the Rioja Alavesa region, commonly held to be the finest region within the Rioja.

Picture: The Rioja Alavesa Region, a View from Bodeags Baigorri

Tour of the Winery

We then split up into 2 groups and toured the winery. My group was led by the charming and very knowledgeable Matthias Lange. But before leaving for the tour, we bumped into the winemaker of Bodegas Baigorri, Simone Arina Robles.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Bodegas Baigorri Winemaker Simone Arina Robles

Bodegas Baigorri was founded in 1996 with the first vintage in 2002. It was designed and built by the Basque architect Iñaki Aspiazu.

“Pouring instead of pumping” was one of the visions of Iñaki Aspiazu, when he designed the winery. The winemaking process is completely gravity fed; you do not see a single pump in the winery.

Touring Bodegas Baigorri means walking down 35 meters, one level to the next, starting with the reception area, then coming to the fermentation levels and ending up at the aging and bottling levels, the lowest levels. In total, you pass through 7 levels.

Picture: Model of Bodegas Baigorri

Another aim of Iñaki Aspiazu was accessibility and transparency, explained Matthias Lange. “Visitors should be able to tour the winery at any time, even during the harvest”.

Although the winery looks hi-tech at first glance, the winemaking philosophy is more of the “natural wine” approach, i.e. to make wine with minimal intervention, said Matthias Lange.

Pictures: Bodegas Baigorri

“All the grapes come from either vineyards owned by Bodegas Baigorri (20%) or long-term leased (80%)” said Matthias Lange. “We work with 12 growers currently, but our long-term goal is to have only estate grown wines”.

“Serious wine production started only 5 years ago” said Matthias Lange, after ownership of Bodegas Baigorri changed. Currently, the staff comprises 15 people.

Rigorous grape sorting is followed by a winemaking process aiming to avoid oxidation and to maximize fruit expression. Matthias Lange showed us the unique cone fermenters that have been developed by Bodegas Baigorri to provide optimal skin contact before maturation in new, one and two year oak for 12 to 18 months before extended maturation in bottle.


The winery tour was followed by a wonderful dinner at the Bodegas Baigorri restaurant, prepared by Chef Marian Peso Beni, with beautifully set out tables and outstanding Bodegas Baigorri wines:

Black pudding delights with homemade apple chutney

Beetroot gazpacho with black sesame seeds and arbequina olive oil

Iberian pork jowl slowly cooked in BAIGORRI Maceraracion Carbonica with garnish

Panna cotta of BAIGORRI with blueberry sauce, iced vanilla gelee of Rosado and Blanco

Baigorri Crianza 2009
Baigorri Reserva 2006

Chef Marian Peso Beni

Thanks Chef Marian Peso Beni and your team for an extraordinary evening!

Facebook and Twitter

Bodegas Baigorri maintains a facebook page and twitter (@bodegasbaigorri) account. For tweets and posts related to Bodegas Baigorri, the hash tag #baigorriemotion is used.

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The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja

Rioja, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Turkey …. Rioja – EWBC 2013 Back in Spain

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