The Rioja Alavesa
The quality of its wines is largely due to the calcareous clay soil (great for vines absorbing the needed humidity), climate and location of the vineyards next to the Sierra Cantabria (which protects the vines from cold winds from the North and permits the vines to take better advantage of heat), and the care of its people in combining the historical legacy of its wine together with new technologies. In the Rioja Alavesa visitors can taste wines produced in medieval caves to wines produced in cutting edge facilities.
Founded in the 10th century as a defensive stronghold of the Kingdom of Navarre, Laguardia / Biasteri stands on a small hill and its medieval layout has been preserved almost intact. At either end of the village, you will find the fortified churches of San Juan Bautista and Santa María de los Reyes, with its exceptional, superbly-conserved polychrome 17th-century portico. Nearby you can see the Torre Abacial, an old castle from which the battlements have been removed and refurbished as a bell tower. Its narrow streets converge on the Plaza de San Juan where you will find the Casa Palacio del Fabulista Samaniego, who was born in this village. Today, it houses the Tourist Office. One of the oldest civil buildings is La Primicia, which dates from the 14th century. Virtually every house in the village has its own winery, and as a result, the subsoil of the whole village is riddled with an underground system of caves and vaults. In Laguardia / Biasteri, a larga number of civic-religious traditions are mainteined. The festivals of San Juan and San Pedro in June have a magic all of their own.