We spent a great day with Jon, not Jon Galdos who runs Basque Tours, but his colleague who is also named Jon. Jon was personable, punctual, informative and, despite it being a full day with about 2 hours of driving from Getxo (port outside of Bilbao) to Rioja, was enthusiastic and energetic the whole time. We had two little girls with us and Jon was very good with them too and flexible with bathroom breaks and adjusting visits.
Jon arranged for us to visit two wineries - Marques de Riscale is a very slick operation with a Frank Gehry designed hotel and production facilities to match while the other, El Fabulista in Laguardia, an incredibly picturesque medieval village, was a more family affair. Aside from the scale, the way they make their wines is very different so the wine geeks in our group were very excited.
We had lunch with Jon in the town square of Laguardia and he helped with the menu - they have menus in English but the translations don't always work (what's an "illustrated salad"?). The red peppers stuffed with shrimp and mushrooms was one of the highlights of our trip to Europe and that's saying something given how many places we ate at.
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