19 Jan 2011

Wine’s Great Walls

ALTHOUGH the Phoenicians first bled wine from the river Ebro’s environs, Rioja’s image only recently got a makeover. Motivated by worship of wine, inspired by the edificial dynamism of crowded Napa and showcasing Spain’s purveyors of new wave gastronomy in their chic restaurants, the region’s enlightened bodegas, shimmering sharply and curvaceously in concrete, glass and steel, represent an affluent confidence. Thirsty with ambition to drink in their seductive spectacle, starkly illuminated in the low winter’s sun, I touched down in Bilbao, home to Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim. Although clearing customs swiftly, my progress was soon slowed by the sight of the striking, curvaceous spread of Santiago Calatrava’s paper white terminal, nicknamed ‘the dove’ by approving locals.
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