Day 9 - Missed appointments

21 December 2021

Wake up early. Restless night.

Buffet breakfast. Dignity lost at round four.

Check out. Quick ride to the station. Zaragoza Delicia. 10.48 departure.

Tickets purchased night before at Zaragoza Goya. Only need ticket for bikes.

Language barrier. Can’t get tickets for bikes.

Head to Customer Service. Lady writes down what we need. Ticket still refused.

Return to Customer Service. Agitation building. First lady not there. New lady informs me I cannot purchase bike tickets for this train. What?

Politely explain that ticket sales at Leida, Zaragoza Goya and her associate have all told me to buy bike tickets for this train. Apologies. Not a bike train.


First lady returns. Takes a close look at ticket. Associate correct. Not a bike train. She apologises.

I explain that I have rescheduled my appointment in Logroño three times based on this train. The person, Linus,  I am meeting is driving from Madrid to meet me in Logroño at 1.00 pm. More apologies.

When is the next train?

2.35 pm. Arrives 4.45 pm. Too late for Linus.

The Customer Service lady walks me to ticket sales. Makes sure my tickets are correct.

Four hour wait at train station. Read book.

“everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait . . . there is nothing stronger than these two: patience and time, they will do it all.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Inform Linus. He is disappointed, but understanding. He will pick us up at 5.15 pm and show us the vineyards for half an hour before dark.

I feel terrible. He has rescheduled over and over to accommodate us. On the day we are due, we don’t make it on time.

Train ride fine. Read book. Arrive at Logroño. Linus picks us up.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Linus is Malaysian, introduced to us by a mutual friend, KC. Wine people. Linus works for two wine companies. Bodegas Bhilar and Bodegas Medrano Irazu. Each owned by two childhood friends. The Bodega have different philosophies.

Medrano Irazu inherited a huge amount of vineyards in the prized growing region El Campillar. Produces easing drinking table wines and a single vineyard wine from 70 year old dry grown Tempranillo.

Bodegas Bhilar is why I am here. More on David tomorrow. David picks us up at 9.00 am for a tasting, winery, and vineyard tour.

Back to Linus.

He drives around the El Campillar, showing us the best vineyard sites. The soil is poor. Sandstone and clay. The vines are ancient. First stop, Merdano’s 70 year old vines for his Amador Medrano Terra.

Then takes us to Bhilar’s two ancient vineyards. One hundred and one hundred and years old respectively. Never seen such ancient vines. They are beautiful. Old. Gnarled. Tortured in the poor soil and freezing weather.

I notice how close the vines are planted. No room for a tractor. I mention it to Linus.

‘No. No tractor. David uses a plow pulled by a big horse’.

Of course, David does.

Back to Logroño. Goodbye and thank you, Linus. He has an appointment tomorrow and will not be at the winery. I still feel bad we let him down. Even more guilty when he gives us three bottles of Merdano. One is the Terra from the 70 year old vines.

We missed lunch. Famished.

It is 7.30 pm and nothing is open until 8.30 pm. We snack on garlic mushrooms on toast. Delicious. Decide not to wait. Buy some cheese and drink the wine at home.

Asleep by 9.00 pm.


  1. Nice one guys. I'm so envy of that Tempranillo Blanco bottle.

    1. Linus is a champion. I just wish we had more time with him. The Blanco was beautiful. I will share notes with you tomorrow.


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