Welcome to Bar Rioja
This bar is dedicated purely to the wonderful wines from the Rioja region of northern Spain, our aim being to showcase the exciting variety and quality of the wines and share our enthusiasm for them with you. We fell head over heels in love with this region and its wines since our first visits and have been back on countless occasions over many years and are constantly impressed how every time the wines are simply getting better and better.
We love the wines from all over Spain too, and admire the energy, skill and enthusiasm of the country’s winemakers. Spain has long been recognised for its innovative winemaking, and gastronomy too of course, and continues to offer a huge range of styles full of identity and character.
Whilst we love the different grape varieties and diverse range of wines from around the country, we decided to dedicate this bar to just the Rioja region, as it offers a multifarious range of wine styles with strong identity at every price point. Whilst it was once a region steeped in tradition, with its oak-aged wines justifiably popular, and now better than ever, today it embraces the most modern of wine making techniques so offers a broad range of styles. It is a region that we feel offers unrivalled diversity, quality, value and pure joy.
The bar itself is small yet full of character, and on the sunny side of the Victorian courtyard at Camino King’s Cross. It has been designed by B3 Designers, and instantly immerses you into a Spanish mini wine heaven, with walls of wines and a strong of the Rioja region. If you can’t go there, just come here!
The wines have huge appeal from deliciously satisfying entry level examples to those that compete with the very best wines from anywhere and offer fantastic value for money at every level. This is especially the case at the upper echelons, where the finest Riojas hold their heads up against the absolute best from France, Italy, California and other regions in Spain such as Priorat and Ribera del Duero.
We’re keen for everyone to be able to easily try every wine on the list, so we offer every wine by the glass, and use the Coravin system for the finest wines to keep them in optimum condition. Enjoy!
Richard Bigg, Founder
“I have always loved the Rioja region, for its breathtakingly wild landscapes with mountainous backdrops, beautiful villages, friendly inhabitants and of course the fabulous wines. I’ve had this project in mind for a few years now, and as the wines these days are better than ever with particularly stunning whites and rosés, new classifications and a huge diversity – a mini world of wines just from one region – this seemed the perfect time to launch.”
Whilst the task was somewhat daunting this really has been a labour of love. Where do you begin with a huge wine region offering such a diverse range to choose from, and of course tens of thousands of individual wines produced from hundreds of bodegas. Not an easy task, challenging for sure but enormously fun. First of all we started with a decent range of outstanding suppliers importing a terrific selection of Rioja wines, and a few months later after loads of research delving ever deeper we made our selection for the tastings.
“Wine is 75 centilitres of fun!” Tim Atkin MW
The bar itself is diminutive so we physically can’t store too many, but more importantly wine is all about the pleasure of spending time with friends enjoying each other’s company rather than poring for half an hour over a self-indulgent mighty tome.
Finally we made our final choices across all the categories and got down to around 40 bottles, through a series of blind tastings of 220 wines carried out by our Richard Bigg Camino co-founder, along with Head of Drinks and hugely experienced and passionate wine lover Hannah Duffy Russo and Nacho del Campo our Executive Chef, who hailing from Vitoria in the Basque Country knows a thing or two about Rioja, needless to say from the Álava zone in particular. And besides he’s a chef, so clearly has finely tuned tastebuds.
We wanted to do the region and its winemakers justice. The is our first list and will naturally evolve over time, and no doubt there will be many more wines featuring as we continue to discover more along our Rioja journey.
We have covered a wide range of styles, and whilst the region is chiefly famed for its red wines, which account for 90% of overall production, we proudly showcase a disproportionate number of whites, from the most spectacular traditional styles to the very best modern styles.
There is one other style not officially recognised at all, simply the wines that stopped us in our tracks the most. These are what we call ‘The Big Guns’, mightily impressive wines that for us were true conversation-stoppers.