we spent the majority of our trip here in this town, high up on the cliffs. from where we were, we could see everything–you couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place.  the countryside was nothing but olive groves, fields of sunflowers, mountains, and patterns of stubby trees. i can completely see how joan miro’s paintings came to be.

i came away inspired by the landscape, the architecture, the food & blocks of color everywhere. the sangria, even. spain in general was humbling & amazing. i always wish my days could be nothing but ridiculous inspiration. most days they’re just not. but occasionally, i have moments like this, where my fingers twitch…all day. and all i can do in response to what i’m soaking in or feeling is paint.

that was spain. it was really good. and totally compelling.

lopez de heredia

this winery in rioja was unlike anything i’ve been to before. it was beautiful & it’s the most humble, unassuming place.

the old stone cellar was carved by hand in the 19th century without using dynamite, in order to preserve the mountainside.

the cellar itself is thickly covered in mold, regulating humidity naturally.

the people there are creatives & passionate artisans…working extremely hard to cultivate these wines.

each barrel is racked by hand 3-4 times per year to remove sediment from the wine, and typically requires three men to operate the pulley. they do this for the benefit of the consumer, so that the consumer does not have to decant the sediment out of the wine.

each wine is aged until the winemaker feels the wine is ready to drink and from there every bottle is filled, labeled, corked, and cleaned by hand. their current release gran reserva right now is from 1991.

they say the wines can age for five to ten years more, but as they are now, they all drink beautifully. everything they do is for the best of the wine or the land…and the wines reflect the vineyard and that creativity and care.

if you ever come across one of these treasures, take the opportunity & remember the care that went in to making it.