Bodegas Darien Winery: In With the Old, In With the New
Settled between north of the Iberian Peninsula and South of Ebro Valley lies Logroño, La Rioja – the renowned crowning glory of Spain’s avant-garde wineries. This small but famous province houses the best vineyards in the country and boasts of an architectural culture of its own. The rural countryside is lined with churches and monasteries of both gothic and Romanesque designs. Adding a contemporary touch to the landscape are the myriad of modern wine facilities dotting the land. The dichotomy of the province’s architectural design creates the illusion of being in two places at the same time.
Perched atop the second shelf of Logroño’s west valley in Embro, lies Bodegas Darien Winery—a sprawling 66-hectare vineyard, dedicated to producing topnotch tipples from low-yielding vineyards. This new-wave wine cellar employs state-of-the-art winemaking equipment to create its stellar wines. Function meets cutting-edge architecture in this ultramodern superstructure, which is home to a winery, wine cellar, restaurant, tasting facility, and one of the largest ceramic collections in Spain.
Join us here at Singapore Wine Vault as we explore the various offerings of the Bodegas Darien Winery.
Bodegas Darien Winery: The Beginning
Youth has never been an impediment to excellence—a fact that holds true for the fairly new Bodegas Darien Winery. The winery was established in 1999, and began releasing its first bottles in 2000. Since then, the brand has grown in esteem in the international wine market.
In 2007, the modern winery opened its doors to the public. It was an instant hit. Art lovers and wine connoisseurs flocked the estate for a sampling of its visual and gustatorial offerings. Designed by renowned architect and La Rioja native, Jesus Pascual Marino, the striking bodega cuts a fine figure in what once were the former vineyards of the Marquis de Romeral. The goal was to create an infrastructure that complemented the province’s magnificent countryside. To do this, Marino and his team set out to create a building that would appear to the casual observer as buried or sinking slowly into the land. This layout is made to overlook the vineyard from the inside, while offering various facades to the outside viewer.
Marino’s vision of the new bodega was both simple and complex. The illusion of being deeply embedded into the earth mirrors the mantle of plants, but it was not stylized simply for effect. The intention was to construct the building into a slope to keep the wine storage facility underground and to expose only the areas that required light and external contact. This led to a design that, viewed from afar, makes the stark white edifice resemble a collection of uneven and craggy rocks.
The interior of Bodegas Darien Winery is no less impressive than its exterior. From its brightly lit passageways to the dark and spacious wine cellar, colors and lighting are employed to ensure the best ambiance for each room. The winemaking room, in all its rich, red glory, is striking in its color contrasts. Steel gray vats stand in stark distinction against the wine-colored walls. The cask room, with its dim lighting, resembles a giant barrel with its domed and curved ceiling beams. Finally, the bottling and aging room, the place where wines lie at rest, is a space that commands peace and tranquility.
Wine Culture: Incorporating Tradition and Modernity
With its enchanting landscape, fascinating infrastructures, and plethora of tourist attractions, Logroño is teeming with cultural and artistic delights. It’s no wonder that scores of tourists flock the country in hopes of partaking in the ultimate Spanish experience. Over the years, the Bodegas Darien Winery has become one of the must-visit sites in the province.
Now, the winery is, without a doubt, a modern creation. It employs machineries at the forefront of viticulture with the intention of producing only the best wine. Oftentimes this leads to a harvest that is small but of exceptional quality.
This isn’t to say that the company has eschewed the more traditional practices of creating wine. Darien harvests grapes in the vineyards surrounding the bodega and in the Rioja Baja region. The grapes are handpicked to yield only the best results. By creating a winemaking system that combines the best of traditional practices and modern procedures, the estate produces delectable and timeless tipples.
To explore and partake in the countless delights of Bodegas Darien Winery, you may need to set aside a few hours of your day. If you find yourself with just enough time for a quick wine tasting, we highly recommend indulging and investing in the following bottles:
Darien Crianza. (57% Tempranillo, 13% Grenache, 10% Mazuelo, and 20% Graciano). This luscious wine, with an alcoholic content of 13.5%, is sure to be an easy favorite for red wine lovers. The wine opens up with a lovely nose of ripe red fruits and lingering hints of smoke. Balancing its nose and flavors is the fine marriage of the sweetness of crushed cherries and the subtle, savory notes of old leather and black pepper. Its bright acidity cuts through the intense fruit flavor, lending the tipple excellent structure and balance.
Darien Rose. (100% Tempranillo). This deep pink rosé is a stunning example of a delicate and refreshing varietal. This light-bodied wine is crisp and fruit-forward, with generous hints of cranberries, strawberries, cherries, and tangerines. A citrusy tang adds lip-smacking acidity to the tipple. With its dry and lingering finish, this is a wine that’s best paired with grilled fish and vegetables.
Darien Seleccion. (68% Temperanillo, 32% Mazuelo). Deep purple in color, this full-bodied and complex red makes a fine addition to any wine vault. The mouthwatering aromas of cherries, berries, cola, and vanilla, are balanced by the smokiness of tobaccos and oak. Flavor-wise, this wine combines a berry- and baked plum-sweetness with a touch of spice and acidity. This wine offers a long, ripe, and smooth finish.
When In La Rioja
Drinking a glass or two, or three, of fine vino during the day may feel a bit overindulgent, but when faced with the immense beauty of the Logroño landscape, it’s near impossible not to partake in some lovely grape manna. Even during daylight hours. Pair the wine with the scrumptious Spanish fare from the estate’s restaurant, and what you have is the ultimate dining experience.
After the delectable feast, you can view the Bodega’s large collection of ceramics that date as far back as the 12th century. Or, you can take a stroll in the rolling hills to witness firsthand the natural beauty of this contemporary estate. Whichever activity you choose, rest assured that you’re making the right choice.
Excellent food and wine! The new wife and I honeymooned in Spain and decided to take a quick sojourn to the countryside and found ourselves visiting Darien Winery one weekend. We weren’t able to take the guided tour, but we did have a look about ourselves after finishing our meal. Planning on heading back soon, and hoping to be able to spend more time here.
Paul N; Connecticut, New England
If you’re looking to experience the best wine of the country, look no further than Darien Winery! Lots of relevant and interesting information to learn from the small tour group we joined. Our tour involved a wine tasting too. Lastly, appreciated our v. hospitable staff who made us feel welcome!
AnnaBananna02; Los Feliz, California
Bodegas Darien Winery is open daily, and is located at Ctra. Logroño-Zaragoza, Km 7, 26006, Logroño.