I love Rioja in June. You wake up early, jump on your bike and soon you are exploring narrow dirt roads, surrounded by vineyards, as you go up and down the hills. From time to time you look into the horizon and admire the mountain ranges that protect this blessed region. This weekend I felt like a Tolkien hobbit that after a long journey returns to the Shire, where he comes from, and enjoys everything he finds there, as if the old things had become new. From bike rides to wine tasting, everything felt like a novelty. Perhaps la Rioja brings you back to childhood days, when you never got tired of watching the same things and life was about discovery. I tasted four wines that I had already drank before, but everyone of them was different and surprising. I tried first a classic, Viña Real crianza 2006, that had the same strong personality that the impressive and elegant new building that houses these traditional vignerons from Bilbao. It was great to taste in the morning, when your senses are so awake. Then we tried one of my favourite reds, Monte Real Reserva 2004, from Bodegas Riojanas, the Meca of Rioja that we had visited some hours before. This wine spoke to us about things extremely well made for centuries, but also about the excitement of new times. We also visited the small new Valenciso winery, a beautiful and austere building. Luis Valentín, co-author of this amazing wine story, explained with precise but passionate words his project. When we tasted the very different and outstanding 2002 and 2004 Valenciso Reservas, I felt like I never wanted to end my bike ride in the Shire.