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24-28 September 2013

 Dear Ramon

I would just like to write a few words to thank you for helping my wife Niki in the organisation of my 50th birthday present of a gourmet wine tour of Rioja. On our arrival at Bilbao airport it was great to meet you & even better when you dealt with all of our luggage. As you are now aware Niki doesn't travel light!

Our first stop was The Dinastia Vivanco Museum, which gave us a great insight into all aspects of wine production from the historical perspective & how the wonderful liquid is physically produced today.

You then took us to the Marques de Riscal hotel for a two night stay. As you arrive at the hotel, it really does have the wow factor (I'm still not sure about that roof..) and from the minute we entered the hotel, the welcome was amazing & nothing appeared too much trouble for the team.

It really is a lovely hotel right in the middle of a working vineyard. Our room, which was even more special with the upgrade to a suite was also just perfect. The views over the surrounding countryside were ones that you’d never tire of. We had a very special dinner that night with of course the accompanying glasses of Rioja (also something I'd never tire of!).

The winery tours that you arranged for us gave a balanced view of current methods of production & ageing in use today. I prefer the nice clean ones whereas Niki preferred the older cellars complete with dust & cobwebs! The subsequent tasting of the wines was also very insightful & again provided a balance between new & old wines.

You then took us to the Hotel Hospederia de los Parajes. This was a very quaint hotel, which was also excellent & in the middle of a pedestrian square with other bars & restaurants, which were great for people watching. You were right, suite 401 was delightful! The food & service here were also fantastic, we really felt pampered, particularly on our last day which was our wedding anniversary & the meal on the last night was superb.

My goal was to see grapes on the vine & the finished bottles on the table & everything in between you achieved all of this and more.

We are so grateful

Fondest regards

 Peter & Niki Allen