Marqués de Riscal
Flew to Spain today for the global car launch of the Jaguar XE, a new rival for a BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4. We spent the day driving on fabulous roads in the Rioja region of northern Spain, and exploring the car's dynamics on fast laps around the Navarra race circuit.
At the end of our drive we saw this amazing building, which I thought was an art centre to rival the Guggenheim in Blibao. I was sort of right. It turned out to be our hotel for tonight, and was designed by the renowned Spanish architect Frank Gehry, who was also responsible for the phenomenally successful Guggenheim Bilbao.
It is based around a winery founded in 1858, which Gehry transformed into this dazzling City of Wine complex. The structure is meant to echo the character of the region and of Rioja wine, with a multiple-coloured titanium facade to reflect the pink hues of Rioja, the silver foil that protects the cork and the distinctive gold mesh that decorates all the Marqués de Riscal bottles.
It's an extraordinary building, and really rather beautiful. As for the car, it has the poised dynamism we've come to expect of Jaguars and is going to be a very significant car for the company in what will be its 80th anniversary year.