The O'Briens Team Visits Rioja

The O'Briens Team Visits Rioja

In October 2023, a group of O’Briens store managers escaped the autumn rain and headed to sunny Rioja in northern Spain. We have long-standing relationships with some of the region’s best winemakers and this latest trip was a welcome chance to catch up with friends, explore the wineries and, of course, discover some fantastic wines! 

Fintan McCormick - Store Manager, O’Briens Greystones

A Trip To Remember

Fintan McCormick, the manager of our Greystones store, summed up the experience perfectly: "Rioja, for me, is the food and the very special wines produced below the mountains. From the old vines embedded in the soil and the proud winemakers’ careful attention to detail to the fruit slowly ripened by the sun and vintages, captured like a photo, aged in barrels and bottles. 

"Followed by a timeless relaxing in cellars where even the walls speak wine, then opened and shared with great company and conversation. I’m looking forward to telling the stories behind these marvellous wines to my customers with a warm heart and smile."

Anna Marshall - Store Manager, O’Briens Carrickmines

The Winery: Bodega Tandem

"The Tandem winery is in beautiful Navarra, only a 40-minute drive from Rioja and on the Camino de Santiago. The passion of winemakers, Jose and Alicia translates into their 'low intervention' winemaking, which sees their wines influenced by the natural terroir and environment. We got to try Ars Nova, Ars Invitro, Inmacula, Macula Immune, and a new one to us, Invoca. 

"Garnacha is clearly the loved grape here, as it thrives in the cooler climate which keep the wines crisp. The majority see no time in oak and are fermented in stainless steel and concrete. However, Macula is a Bordeaux blend with a fair bit of bottle age, adding another level of depth and complexity. It was a great end to an already terrific trip." Anna Marshall - Store Manager, O’Briens Carrickmines

The Wine To Try:
Tandem Ars Nova

WAS €18.95 NOW €13.95 (Part of our Spanish Wine Sale. Price valid until 30th October 2023.)

Pearse Greally - Store Manager, O’Briens Glasnevin

The Winery: Bodegas Riojanas

"We visited Bodegas Riojanas in Cenicero, Rioja where we were greeted by Emilio Sojo Nalda, who was named "Best Winemaker of Rioja" in The Drinks Business magazine’s Master Winemaker 100 (2023). Emilio conveyed an extreme passion for his craft as he spoke about the recent vintages in the middle of the incredible vineyards. His gift is so evident in his wines, which we were treated to along with a wide mixture of tapas, in the winery that evening. 

"The highlight of the trip for me was getting to taste the 1964 Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva which was showing excellently – an extremely fresh expression of fruit infused with blackberries, cranberries, plums, with savoury notes of black pepper, clove, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a balsamic touch." Pearse Greally - Store Manager, O’Briens Glasnevin

The Wine To Try:
Monte Real Rioja Reserva

WAS €22.95 NOW €13.95 (Part of our Spanish Wine Sale. Price valid until 30th October 2023.)

Darren Hogan - Store Manager, O'Briens Beacon South Quarter

The Winery: Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta

"To say we were excited to visit Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta is an understatement! The oldest winery in the new era of Rioja - it was established in 1852 - Finca Ygay remains the largest single estate in Rioja Alta. After a fantastic tour we enjoyed an amazing lunch, tasting the wines that we sell in O’Briens. The grapes are sourced exclusively from the estate’s vineyards, and the passion the team puts into their wines is why they are considered some of the best to come from Spain.

"The fact that Marqués de Murrieta Reserva is their entry wine, to me, says it all. Marques de Murrieta wines are available in over 100 countries worldwide and we are very proud that they are exclusive to O’Briens here. Modern style Rioja doesn’t get any better!" Darren Hogan - Store Manager, O'Briens Beacon South Quarter

The Wine To Try:
Murrieta Reserva

WAS €27.95 NOW €22.36 (Part of our Spanish Wine Sale. Price valid until 30th October 2023.)

All set for tasting wines at Marqués de la Concordia

The Winery: Marqués de la Concordia 

"On our first evening in Rioja, we visited the vineyards at Marqués de la Concordia and were warmly greeted by winemakers Victor, Antonio and David. The flight of wines we tasted included a couple of O’Briens customer favourites.

"There was Marqués de la Concordia Reserva, a modern, fruit-forward wine with well-integrated oak characteristics from its 24 months in French and American barrels, and Federico Paternina Gran Reserva, a rich, velvety red bursting with dark bramble fruit and balanced with baking spices and a toasty finish. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and it meant a lot to meet the people behind the wines we love." Greg Hulsman - Store Manager, O'Briens Rathgar 

The Wine To Try:  
Marqués de la Concordia 

WAS €19.95 NOW €12.95 (Part of our Spanish Wine Sale. Price valid until 30th October 2023.)


Main pic: Team O'Briens at the iconic Marqués de Murrieta sign in Rioja

READ MORE:  Five Spanish Wines To Try Before You Die
READ MORE: All You Need To Know About Rioja