Archive for March 25th, 2022

March 25, 2022

The sentimental favorite Marqués de Riscal wines !!

I have written before on the Rioja wine region of Spain, but conversation with a fellow blogger got me to think about this particular property, My first sip of wine came from Marqués de Riscal back when my maternal grandmother Amparo (pajara, tenerife) allowed me a sip when I was 8 yrs old !! Later on, it was, also, my first bottle of wine I purchased; many many years ago. From then , I even worked in a liquor store (ABC) wine department in Florida. Went on to have diploma in wine knowledge from ICEX, the commercial office of Spain abroad and Sopexa ,food and wine from France. The love of wines have continue to this day and even greater, cannot have a meal without it ! My cellars are not big ,and on any given day you can find 50-100 bottles in it, just for drinking not into collection, as the wine is made to be drunk !

I like to tell you in my black and white series, no pictures ,the story of this fascinating wine property of the Marqués de Riscal in ElCiego, Rioja Alavesa of Spain, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Marqués de Riscal arrived in La Rioja Alavesa from France with an innovative spirit and was the first to produce wine using Bordeaux methods. Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga received in 1858 from his sister Marceliana some possessions in Elciego with an important wine production. He sent from Bordeaux, where he lived, 9,000 vine plants of varieties that did not exist in the area at the time such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Pinot Noir, the finest that were grown in France, to experiment in their vineyards, where grapes of the Tempranillo and Graciano varieties had been grown.

For its part, the Diputación de Álava,(area govt) which already had the practical school of agriculture under way, at the request of viticulturists and winemakers, contacted Hurtado de Amégaza so that he could look for a person in France who had experience in the modern production of wines. Both he and his son Camilo, connoisseurs of Bordeaux society and wine people, saw in Jean Pineau the technician they were looking for, and the provincial body hires Pineau, who, after a few years in this agricultural school, is fired and hired by the Marqués de Riscal. The objective was to introduce practices that were already being carried out in Bordeaux, in everything that has to do with the vineyards, harvests and production, to obtain wines of the highest quality and to be preserved for several years, since, until then, they were bulk from a single harvest that, to preserve them, they added alcohol, with the result of strong and bitter wines, very difficult to drink. The French winemaker took charge of the vineyards and tested new production methods with extraordinary results. The Marqués and his son Camilo gave him total confidence and made important investments, including a new cellar with the capacity to hold barrels of wine. This is how a new stage began. The French winemaker settled in Elciego for 21 years and survived the second generation of Marqués de Riscal, mainly led by Camilo and José Carlos Hurtado de Amézaga.

The Plaza del Reloj or clock square is the reference point of Elciego, (the blind) and from where you can contemplate the history of Marqués de Riscal through the buildings that surround it. The most emblematic building is the original La Bodega, which began to be built in 1860. The facilities, made of local stone, were designed in accordance with the latest oenological trends to accommodate the most modern facilities in terms of winemaking. In 1883 the cellar known as El Palomar began to be built following the style of the Bordeaux wineries. In 2011 it was remodeled, becoming a space equipped with the latest technology and the most advanced machinery for the production of high-quality wines, and this is where the high-end wines of Marqués de Riscal are made today. Strolling among thousands of barrels, we arrive at what is called La Catedral, where we can see the history of this winery through bottles that rest in the midst of sacred silence and with carefully controlled light, temperature and humidity conditions and where the characteristic aroma of good Rioja fills everything.

Frank O. Ghery ,a Canadian architect, designer of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao was called upon to design it. In 2006 the Elciego wineries were transformed into the Ciudad del Vino or City of Wine, a complex that includes the primary wineries, the most modern, the vineyards and a leisure complex that includes the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, an emblematic building designed by the architect Frank Gehry and inaugurated by King Juan Carlos I.

Alejandro Aznar is, since 1994, president of Vinos de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal or the heritage wines of Riscal who controls the business. He was the promoter of La Ciudad del Vino de Elciego, The house founded in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga , the Marqués de Riscal had the touch in these more than 160 years other shareholders entered this company, there was always a member of the family on the board of directors. Now there is Francisco Hurtado de Amézaga, the fifth generation, who is also a winemaker and general technical director of the winery.

The official Marqués de Riscal :

The ElCiego tourist office on the Marqués de Riscal :

The Rioja wines on ElCiego wineries :

The Euskadi Basque tourist board on the Rioja Alavesa of Marqués de Riscal :

In my wine love route, worked with many folks, including given my experiences and knowledge to help improved the Apolo y Baco webpage, that I have in my front page bottom in my blogroll. IN Spanish, but you have all info here even contact information for all Bodegas in Spain. I have it in the Basque Rioja Alavesa region of the Marqués de Riscal!

There you go folks, I am glad the experience now fully integrated into my blog, my life’s history. Hope you can appreciated and do read my other many posts on wines including my series on wines news of France ! The Marqués de Riscal will always be a sentimental favorite, and it is a good wine too ! Even if cannot find a picture!!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

March 25, 2022

Cap Hispania , the Spain of Paris !!!

We love Spanish food as well, and I mean Spain, so  searching for one I look up Spanish food sections in restaurants and webpages dealing with the subject in France. Here I found one Cap Hispania in the 17éme arrondissement of Paris and went for it. It has been a find ,a jewel, a precious location for all that is good from Spain. Going by Pont Cardinet and over the railroad tracks leading to the Gare Saint Lazare and into the Brochart area where I end up parking underground of the Batignolles covered market !(see post)

One of the biggest professionals at the same time wholesaler and retailer in the distribution of Iberian products since 1998.  Cap Hispania, our Spanish grocery store in Paris has approximately 180 references of duly selected savory and sweet gourmet products, including Iberian ham at a price-almost-friendly. The advice is second nature, conversations sometimes stretch, and we leave loaded with the latest goodies.


Cap Hispania, is simply the paradise of lovers of Iberian charcuterie. You can go there to catch a sandwich at lunchtime, to buy ham at retail or wholesale, to fill up with tapas for the evening. Beautiful whole hams are hanging from the ceiling. And not just any of them.. The Serrano arrives directly from the Salamanca region and has been refined 12 to 14 months. The Pata Negra comes from a particular breed of pork, the Iberian pork, and patiently waited more than two years before joining the stalls of Cap Hispania.  When a Bellota, the rolls royce of hams, it is derived from pigs raised in the open air and exclusively fed to the acorns from autumn to spring. After more than 30 months of refinement, it is particularly tasty and melting. My favorite Spanish supermarket in Paris for years..,  Cap Hispania. This is where you will find the best of Spain from olives, olive oïl, canned goods, wines, cheeses like the great manchego,chorizos, morcilla and cold cuts as well as meat cuts, and of course, the wonderful nougats or turron. All with a friendly service shown ,service and greeted by native Spaniards. Great place. Below pic my Dad!


The stalls of Cap Hispania also abound with first-choice deli meats, like the lomo, made with pork loin, all kinds of chorizos, or the delicious Cecina de Leon, this meat of salted beef, dried, smoked and then refined . Besides, the Spanish cheeses, less well known, only asking  to be discovered, but do not overlook the Manchego from Castilla La Mancha Don Quijote quarters!. The right side of the store is reserved for the fine grocery section. They bring quality gourmet products from Spain: Olive oil from Andalusia, Jerez vinegar, canned white tuna from Biscay or anchovies from the Cantabrian coast… this is a good way to revise your geography of Spain!  On the sweet side, one feasts of course of the Turrón (nougats), which some like hard and crunchy (that of Alicante), and that others prefer fondant and tender (that of Jijona), but also of marzipan or polvorones. The common point between all these sweets? The almonds! Below pic inside my son back!!


Cap Hispania, 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, 17éme/ Metro Pont Cardinet line 14, Wagram or Malesherbes line 3, Open Monday  16h-19h, from Tuesday to Saturday 10h-19h30. webpage:

There you go folks, a dandy Spanish heaven in Paris .An off the beaten path sights that will make your mouth watered and enjoy the culinary choices of my eternal Paris. After all, is it that one big reason you are here visiting or as me living lol! bon appetit!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 25, 2022

The Batignolles covered market of Paris!!

In my continuing saga of finding places to shop and eat in my eternal Paris, I shall bring you to an off the beaten path covered market . As I look around for a parking on street nearby, I was led past the Pont Cardinet and over the railroad tracks leading to the Gare Saint Lazare and into the Brochart area where I end up parking underground of the Batignolles covered market and voilà another wonderful find. This is Paris, the more you walk, drive it the more you will find wonders! Let me update this older post to tell you a bit about it and maybe you too will have your find in eternal Paris.

Paris marche couvert batignolles feb16

The covered market or Marché Couvert des Batignolles, at 96bis Rue Lemercier 17éme arrondissement by metro line 13 Brochart as well as bus lines 54 and 74, is a wonderful example of glorious shopping in seldom visited areas of Paris. We go here once in a while and it is our area of nice food shopping. The market, built on the ground floor of a residential complex of the 1970’s, is undoubtedly one of the most bobos in Paris.

Paris marche couvert batignolles fromager feb16

Customers often seem to know each other and really feel a neighborhood spirit. There are about fifteen traders and organic product stalls. This market is mainly food-centered with an excellent butcher at reasonably reasonable prices, a well-stocked grocer, Breton terroir products, Mediterranean products, Lebanese, Moroccan, African, a Portuguese rotisserie and a wine cellar. The place, you will have understood, is very popular with the locals. It is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8h30 to 13h and from 15h30 to 20h, Saturdays from 8h30 to 20h and Sundays from 8h30 to 14h.

Paris marche couvert batignolle inner aisle feb16

Behold, paradise for organic produce aficionados, the Batignolles organic market sets up every Saturday on the median of the boulevard Batignolles, near the covered market.  This is closer to metro place de Clichy lines 2 and 13 ,and bus lines 30 and 66, More on the Paris tourist office :

The City of Paris on the Batignolles market

The Paris tourist office on Batignolles market :

There you go folks an off the beaten path sights that will make your mouth watered and enjoy the culinary choices of my eternal Paris. Do enjoy the wonderful Batignolles market! After all, is it that one big reason you are here visiting or as me living lol! bon appetit!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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