Ah, Rioja!

What do you get when you stick 13 people and two dogs into three little rental cars and send them off to the northern region of Spain?  A fantastic 3 days of wine tasting, salsa dancing, and life-long-friend making!

Thanks to our friends, Rachel and Nadia, our weekend was well planned and coordinated (they did an incredible job!) and we started our first day with a full tour and tasting to learn about the art of wine making.  Our guide at the first bodega (Bodegas Olarra) was fantastic and our Columbian friends, Juliana and Andreas, helped interpret since the tour was given entirely in Espanol.  We were in awe of the gorgeous space, intricate wine making process, and delicious wine.

We were able to rent two houses in the charming village of Gilmeo – remarkable for its single bar attached to the hospital.  The larger house was without heat for the first two days so we tried to heat things up with a fire, numerous bottles of wine, playing “Celebrity,” and some salsa/meringue lessons from Juliana and Andreas.  It worked!

For any of you who have been to or are from Seattle, you may recognize the unique architectural design of the bodega pictured below.  It’s Marques de Riscal and was designed by Frank Gehry who is responsible for the Experience Music Project.  Pretty amazing!

Needless to say, Kyle and I thoroughly enjoyed our Rioja trip with EB, the Chopra’s, the Porter’s, the Bauman’s, the Chu’s, and the Jimenez/De Greiff’s.  Thanks for a fantastic weekend!

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