Certainly Rioja has a long history as a winemaking region, stretching back to Roman times. But its modern history has been uneven, the boom times alternating with periods of struggle. Victor Pascual, president of the Consejo Regulador, or regulatory council of Rioja, divides the past 150 years into three distinct phases. Fortunately, the progressive ideas sweeping Rioja today are a sign of a new, vigorous and prosperous phase underway. For more information about this series, please visit www.ciaprochef.com/rioja.