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FrontRunners: Rioja Original

Nancy Wong Bryan

Camilo Hurtado de Amézaga, the Marqués de Riscal, stirred Spanish oenology in the mid-19th century by importing French vines and Bordeaux-style winemaking techniques to his native Elciego, in the heart of Rioja. In accordance with the pioneering spirit of its founder, the Marqués de Riscal winery (+34.945.60.60.00, www.marquesderiscal.com) has enlisted American architect Frank Gehry to design its new La Ciudad del Vino, or the City of Wine. The $80 million, 74,000-square-foot hotel and visitor’s center, a model of which is pictured here, is scheduled to open at the end of this year.
 
Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in nearby Bilbao, Spain, is erecting La Ciudad atop a Marqués de Riscal wine cellar that dates to 1860. The development’s main structure will be canopied by ribbons of stainless steel and colored titanium—materials and forms that should present a sharp contrast to the region’s traditional Basque edifices. Once completed, La Ciudad will house a 43-suite hotel managed by Starwood Luxury Collection, a restaurant featuring Rioja-style cuisine, a Caudalie Vinothérapie spa, and, of course, Marqués de Riscal vintages in the 145-year-old, 3.6 million-bottle-capacity wine cellar.

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