Rioja week – The Bodegas

One of the interesting things about wandering from Bodega to Bodega in the Station District of Haro, aside from the wine, is the different styles that abound in their bar/shops and each one’s approach to customer service. So here is our oppinion of the Bodegas that we visited.

CVNE

I loved this winery. In part because I really enjoy their wines. Their Cune range was one of the first young Riojan reds that I tried as it came with the menu del dia where I worked. It turms out i quite like some of their other ranges as well and their Gran Reservas were my favourites.

However, i mainly enjoyed this winerey because their bar area adopts the more traditional bodega style. It has a low lighting ambience decorated with old oak wine barrels and the various wines on display. There is a comprehensive wine list and all are available by the glass at reasonable prices. this is no mean feat because CVNE make a lot of different wine.

More importantly the gentlemen doing the serving was incredibly helpful and spent time with each of us explaining the wine we were tasting and helping us to make our selections.

I would highly recommend a visit to this bodega.

MUGA

In contrast the Muga visitors’ area was very modern. Nicely done but had the feel of a modern wine bar rather than a bodega. Unfortunately when we visited they had just cleaned the floor and the place smelt of bleach, which is not conjusive to enjoying wine.

There is plenty of information around about the wine choices and the prices are reasonable. There was a lady behind the bar, however after she served us she left us with a couple of drink mats with info about the wine and then dissappeared. There was no human interaction like there was in CVNE.

Muga is an impressive winery with some great wines, but they need to work on their customer service.

GOMEZ CRUZADO

Probably my favourite in terms of decor, the Gomez Cruzado bar/area is again done in a traditional style. You are truly inside the heart of the winery with wine fermenting and ageing around you in the cement eggs, large fermentation barrels and smaller oak barrels for maturing wine. In terms of ambience it had a slight edge over CVNE as the lighting was better so you could acually see what you was drinking. The oak scent was heavenly.

The customer service was also excellent. All wines were available by the glass and we were walked through the choices to help us decide and then given great detail on the wines chosen. Great personal service.

A visit to this bodega is a must.,

RIOJA ALTA

The bar area at Bodega Rioja Alta is done in a sort of Art Deco style. Very modern with glass and mirrors. It is not really my preferred style. The prices per glass here were higher than the other bodegas, even though their bottle prices were not. This is not good value for money.

We were served wine by a lady behind the bar who remained their throughout our visit but made no effort to inform us on the wine we were drinking or aid us in our wine choices. When I asked her if I could photograph the bottle we were drinking she told me to go find it on the shelves. Again I feel some customer service training is required here.

RAMON BALBOA

On the outskirts of town, rather than in the Station District, this bodega has some interesting architecture. Inside it is decorated in a modern manner with interesting art pieces scattered about that make it fun to walk around. I was looking forward to this visit as their Crianza was one of my favourite wines in the bars.

However I was disappointed. The taster glasses are served out of a wine machine rather than by hand. There was a lady there behind the counter and she had some wines open in a wine fridge, but not the one we tried. Now generally I quite enjoy trying out new gadgets so the machine didn’t put me off until I tried the wine and felt it had been open for too long.

I think the whole machine approach is a bit impersonal and would have preferred talking to a human. To be fair the lady present was happy to talk to us, but we were a bit tired by then so didn’t really engage. It didn’t help that this is a large shop/bar area and we were the only two there.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.