You’ll know if you’ve seen a Frank Gehry designed building.
Inspired by their surroundings and purpose, they are almost impossible to categorise.
Unlike anything else, they’re spectacular: wavy, curved, and flowing, with shimmering metallic sheets covering the exterior.
Great Art Deserves an Extraordinary Building
The fantastic Guggenheim museum is the centrepiece of the city of Bilbao.
If you are visiting, perhaps on your way to the Rioja or Basque region, you should certainly make time to visit.
There’s an excellent audio tour where Gehry himself explains the use of materials and his design ethos.
I spent a few days in Bilbao, before heading to the foodie hotspot of San Sebastiań where I polished off some of the best pintxos it’s possible to get.
Afterwards, based in the delightful town of Logroño in the Rioja region, I visited a winery which just so happens to be a less-visited, but equally stunning Gehry masterpiece.
A Winery Like No Other
We’d pre-booked a tour at Bodega Marqués de Riscal.
Being readily available in UK supermarkets, this wine may be familiar to regular Rioja drinkers.
During the tour, you’ll get a video of Gehry explaining his mad creative process, and how the flowing, colourful contours of the building on display are designed to evoke the pouring of wine.
An engineering and design masterpiece, Gehry’s team must be exceptional to be able to turn his mad squiggles into a working, functional building.
The building houses a thoroughly modern winery, adjacent to the vineyard (although grapes are purchased from across the Rioja region for this winery, such is the quantity they produce).
There is a restaurant and hotel on site too, so it’s perfect for a short break.
It was interesting to see the winery buildings, cellars and bottling plant, and the tour was great value, with a fair few glasses of wine included for about €10.
You’ll probably go to see the building, but it’s certainly worth staying for the wine and food.