Despite sleeping in great hotels and eating in many exquisite, hard to book in advance restaurants, my previous job also allowed me to travel, every year, to many different wine regions of Spain (and many in France too) for wine tastings (often with the owner or the winemaker, in the cellar at the barrels) and buying purposes. I was really privileged to be able to prepare, organize and participate to all my boss's trips.
Spain is really a delightful place to visit but not only for its wines or its food, the culture, the history, the people, the sunny weather, the Mediterranean cost and the nouvelle vague (new wave) of artists and designers make Spain one of the main center of interest in Europe. Barcelona is (somewhat) still under the radar compared to Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Geneva, Brussels or Berlin (to only name a few), but it is getting there slowly and surely. You just have to walk the streets of Barcelona to realize it. There are paintings and sculptures, and many other forms of art to confirm it at every corners of this energetic city.
However, I could continue to talk about the multiple attractive features of Spain for many more paragraphs, but I think I should write another post about it. So let's come back to wine and especially to Rioja.
Despite the fact that my heart belongs to Bordeaux (and my wife and son) and that I absolutely adore Burgundy, I always come back to Rioja. First, because it is not too far from Bordeaux and San Sebastian (both primary destinations every time I 'm back in Europe), and secondly, because there is something magical about it.