The writer and wine critic for Robert Parker’s ‘The Wine Advocate’, appointed to be this year’s “Engine Driver” (Maquinista del Año) for the Haro Station Wine Experience,  will offer a tasting masterclass on 14 June, an invitation to “wake up your memory” through music and wine, which you will be able to enjoy by acquiring an exclusive ticket, which will also give you access to the concert afterwards, featuring the band ‘The Winedrinkers’, of which he is a member

The writer and wine critic for Robert Parker’s journal  ‘The Wine Advocate’, Luis Gutiérrez, will lead a tasting masterclass as “Engine Driver of the Year” (Maquinista del Año) for the Haro Station Wine Experience on 14 June, the day before the big day for wine and food organised by the wineries of this historic enclave, CVNE, Bodegas Bilbaínas – Viña Pomal, Gómez Cruzado, La Rioja Alta S.A., Muga and Bodegas RODA. He proposes to lead a musical tasting which will be “different and fun with a bit of ‘Rock and Wine’”, taking us back to the sixties. You will be able to enjoy this experience by buying an exclusive ticket, which will also give you access to the concert given afterwards by ‘The Winedrinkers’ band, of which he is a member.

“I like to say that the tasting I will be leading is a journey through time over seven decades, with its memories of aromas, sounds and vision, placing the wines in the historical context against which they were made. At the same time we will see the evolution of the style of the wines, and how these also evolved in the bottle. We will wake up people’s memories by making a reference to a historical event, people and music with the primary aim of getting people to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but also for them to be able to have a different perception of the wines, taking themselves back to the moment they were harvested”, Luis Gutiérrez explains.

Luis Gutiérrez, as this year’s “Engine Driver”,  thus becomes the image and official spokesman for the Cata del Barrio de la Estación, a not-to-be-missed date in the Spanish wine and food calendar, and a unique day revolving around the culture of wine, via the iconic labels of the prestigious wine cellars located in this hundred-year-old enclave, and the gastronomic delights of Michelin-starred chefs, which will take place on 15 June 2024 in Haro.


The exclusive tasting with Luis Gutiérrez will take place the day before, on 14 June at 7 pm, in the Bodegas Bilbaínas-Viña Pomal space, La Marquesina, in the Barrio de la Estación. Afterwards, at 9 pm, in the same place, there will be a performance by ‘The Winedrinkers’ band,  of which he is a member, made up of representatives of the wine sector and specialist journalists, along with professional musicians. This will be accompanied by a cocktail featuring various wines from CVNE, Bodegas Bilbaínas-Viña Pomal, Gómez Cruzado, La Rioja Alta S.A., Muga and Bodegas RODA.  The combined admission ticket for this experience, with a limited capacity, can be purchased at a fee of 150 euros via this link.


Eclecticism in the music and the wine

In this journey through the wine and music of different decades, from the sixties to the present, you will taste emblematic wines from special vintages produced by the bodegas of the Barrio de la Estación, recovered from their bottle cellars for this exceptional event, with the aim of playing with the wine, music and time. The “eclecticism” with which Luis Gutiérrez defines his musical taste will provide the soundtrack for the diverse range of grape varieties, philosophies, focuses and styles of wine that live beside each other in the “Station Quarter”. In this enclave, with the greatest concentration of hundred-year-old wineries in the world, the fine wines of the end of the 19th century were born, a legacy which the bodegas continue to guard, making tradition evolve from a commitment to excellence.

The title of ‘Engine Driver of the Year’ honours professionals of proven prestige and fame in the world of wine. Thus, Luis Gutiérrez joins the group of drivers from the Cata del Barrio de la Estación event, a list of illustrious ambassadors which is made up of  the sommelier from the three-Michelin-star restaurant Celler de Can Roca, Josep Roca (2022), and the Masters of Wine Sarah Jane Evans (2018), Pedro Ballesteros (2016) and Tim Atkin (2015), who have raised the event’s significance and, through their eyes, helped to enhance the winemaking heritage of the Barrio de la Estación.

Passionate about wine, its landscapes and its people

 Luis Gutiérrez (Ávila, 1965 vintage) confesses to being “crazy about wine”. And wine has ended up becoming his whole life. This passion for wine, fed by his travels and friendships, led him to co-found and collaborate in El Mundo Vino, from its creation in 2000, and to be a writer on Spanish wines for the British writer and Master of Wine, Jancis Robinson, which earned him the Premio Nacional de Gastronomía a la Labor Periodística en España in 2012 (a national award for food and wine journalists). Thanks to his broad knowledge and experience as a wine taster, he became the critic for wines from Spain, Chile, Argentina and the Jura, in France, for the Robert Parker journal, ‘The Wine Advocate’, which is part of the Michelin Group, for which he has been writing and tasting since 2013.

He collaborated in the ‘1001 vinos que hay que probar antes de morir’ (1001 Wines you must try before you die – Grijalbo) and is co-author of ‘The Finest Wines of Rioja and Northwest Spain’ (Aurum Press and University of California Press), published in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan in 2012, for which he won an André Simon Special Commendation Award in London in 2011.

Trained technically and with professional experience in a big multinational, he was hijacked by wine three decades ago and ever since then has written about, photographed and tasted wines, but also their landscapes and the people who make them possible. In the biographical note that accompanies his book, ‘Los nuevos viñadores’ (Planeta Gastro), he states that he loves wandering through vineyards to understand these wines and to enjoy the culture and local gastronomy during his trips.

He defends the view that  “wine is much more than just a liquid in a bottle. It is the whole history and all the background, which can come from the vineyards, the landscape, the local culture”. He considers that the “Barrio de la Estación is unique” and that it “marked the history of La Rioja”.  Beyond the point scores, for Luis Gutiérrez the great wines are those “which strike at the heart. It is much more a sentiment than a series of descriptors or aromas”.

Interview with Luis Gutiérrez, ‘Maquinista del Año’ of the District Station Tasting