We had wanted to visit some of the caves under Laguardia, but when we arrived yesterday it was too late to get in. We decided to stay around another day and get in a tour.
With time in the morning we lazed around a bit before heading over to Laguardia. We had a specific winery we were most interested in, but today they were only offering tours in Spanish, we contemplated going along, but they said it would be a waste as they spent a lot of time explaining the process and if we were not fluent it would be boring.
Instead we went to another winery and booked ourselves on a tour of Bodega Carlos San Pedro. We had a couple of hours to kill so we settled into a coffee shop and watched a replay of the Real Madrid game with the local team Since we did not know the score it was live to us. In the end the local team scored literally at the final whistle, and all of the locals who had kindly not given away the score shared a big high five with us.
When we got to Carlos San Pedro it was packed. In fact the owner was startled about how many English speaking guests he had. Towards the end he began asking people to wait 15 minutes and he would run a second tour. Ton and I decided to join his tour, as he was clearly the owner and winemaker. It was a good decision as Carlos gave an in depth and clear description of the winemaking process in the Rioja region. He showed us the original winemaking facility before admitting that they had moved to a modern facility about 15 years ago. They did have a splendid video of the process using the old equipment including a hand operated press that was still on display.
After the explanation we went down into the caves under the winery to see the cement tanks they use, as well as the barrel and bottle rooms. The caves have been under the town for hundreds of years, and go back to the time when the town was a fortress. There are over 300 caves under the town, and many have been used for winemaking and storage for the last 150 years.
It ended with a taste of the wine that was in a 6000 liter tank aging, as well as two from the bottle. The wine was superb, and we have been on a lot of wine tours in our time, but this was one of the best.
It was still pretty early so we decided to move south a little bit to get us positioned for another town tomorrow. Tonight we are in the parking lot of a major grocery store with 6 other motorhomes. We were able to get some supplies. The drive to here was thru the Cebollera National Park, and it was quite beautiful, though the weather was a little sketchy or we may have stopped for the night. It gives us something to aim for in the future.