Spain Wine Tour
THIS TOUR IS FULL AND WAITLISTED. TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITLIST PLEASE EMAIL DAVID@FINEVINTAGELTD.COM THANK YOU!
Amazing wine tour to Spain – Sept 16-20th
Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Rueda
with James Lawther MW
- Abadia Retuerta
- Marques de Riscal
- Lopez de Heredia
- Remirez de Ganuza
- Jose Pariente
- Finca Valpiedra
- TXOMIN ETXANIZ
- Alcazar in Segovia
- Peñafiel castle
- 1* Michelin dinner
- Pesquera hotel
- Burgos cathedral
Price: $2,995 – Including tax
In collaboration with my friend Jeremy, we have put together another ALL STAR trip to the greatest wineries in Rioja and Castile. Soak up the rhythm of the wine harvest, visit stunning architectural wonders both ancient and modern, enjoy a Michelin dinner in a bodega, verticals of Spain’s greatest wines, along with a series of winemaker lunches at iconic estates.
Pingus, Abadia Retuerta and Pesquera in Ribera del Duero and Jose Pariente in Rueda. Valpiedra, Marques de Riscal, Lopez de Heredia, Remelluri and Lanzaga in Rioja. You'll visit the best wineries in 3 dynamic wine regions that contrast modern and traditional wine styles side by side. We will taste over 60 wines and have verticals at some of the top estates.
James Lawther MW will host the trip. He is a writer for decanter magazine and several other publications, and is one of the most respected Masters of Wine. He’s also good fun. My friend Jeremy, who lives in Spain and knows the language and all the bodegas will also guide the trip. So it will be educational but in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, suitable for the novice and the expert.
We're taking about 15- 20 people. So don't wait. Not only it is a privilege to have these appointments, we will be visiting at harvest time, appreciating the best wine experiences that Spain has to offer at the optimal time of year.
Price: $2,995 including tax
This price includes all accommodation, visits and tastings at wineries, all meals, all wine at meals, and local transport. Flights are not included.
If you are travelling by yourself we will try to find you someone appropriate to share a room with, or if you want your own room there will be a single supplement of $700.
To join the tour: Email me at James@finevintageltd.com . Please request the booking form.
Why take a tour of Spain from Fine Vintage?
Most of these estates are not typically open to visitors, and if you can get in then you’ll get a very different tour and tasting from what you will experience with us. The only reason that we are able to visit these wineries is because of our contacts and network through buying and wine writing activities.
All of the visits are confirmed except one which will be confirmed closer to the time. Here is the program.
MONDAY September 16th
Please make your own flight arrangements to Madrid. We will leave from central Madrid next to the Westin Palace (5 star) and NH Paseo del Prado (4 star) hotels, which are the 2 hotels we recommend if you arrive the night before.
NH Paseo del Prado, Plaza Canovas del Castillo, 4. 28014 Madrid, Tel: +34.913302400 email@example.com
The Westin Palace Hotel, Plaza de las Cortes 7, 28014, Madrid. www.westin.com/palacemadrid Tel +34 913607666
Meet with James and Jeremy in front of NH Paseo del Prado Hotel, at the back of the Westin Palace in Madrid. Board the luxury bus and we're off, with a little cava to kick start the tour.
We then drive to Segovia. Here we have a guided tour of the Alcazar, Segovia’s landmark fortress. Walt Disney modeled the castle in his logo on the Alcazar. It’s quite the place. It was home to many of the Kings of Spain.
TAPAS LUNCH AND VEGA SICILIA IN SEGOVIA
After the alcazar visit, we enjoy a tasting of some of Spain’s icon wines and a casual tapas lunch at Jose Maria restaurant, currently reckoned to be Segovia’s finest asador restaurant.
Over lunch James will introduce the big picture of Spanish wines and the various regions. During this we’ll have a tasting of a Rueda white and 3 reds, including Spain’s 1st growth, Vega Sicilia Reserva Especial. We’ll also have a glass of Alion, which is Vega’s modern styled red, and Jose Maria’s own Reserva called Pago de Carraovejas. It’s a good first lunch.
JOSE PARIENTE TOUR
After lunch we visit our first winery. Jose Pariente is one of the best producers in Rueda. It’s a small but modern family winery run by mother Victoria and her gorgeous daughter Martina. It's a chance to taste some excellent whites from the Verdejo grape in a tutored tasting. This is a very unique varietal that is sometimes blended with Sauvignon Blanc, and makes delicious wines. http://www.josepariente.com/eng/index2.html
After the visit and tasting, we head off to the Hotel Pesquera, where we will spend the first 2 nights. This is a brand new hotel built by the icon Alejandro Fernandez, who owns Pesquera. It’s very modern, in stark contrast to the traditional winery. It’s a fun hotel, and there is a great bar, which has a dangerously good selection of wine and Gin. Last year, the Gin flowed… http://www.hotelpesquera.com/en/elhotel.php
DINNER AT PESQUERA HOTEL
After check in and time to relax we’ll have a beautiful dinner with a selection of wines from Ribera del Duero and Toro, alongside some fine French reds to show the contrast between Spanish and French grapes and styles.
TUESDAY September 17th
09.30 am Depart hotel
Breakfast, and then we'll drive a short distance along Ribera del Duero’s golden mile, to Abadia Retuerta.
If our second stop Pingus shows the winemaker as artist in a humble location, Abadia Retuerta offers a view of the winemaker as scientist in the grandest surroundings. The bodega is owned by Novartis and is based around a 12th century abbey at the heart of their estate. It is one of the most modern wineries in the world.
We jump into some 4x4’s and go for a wild ride around the estate. We see vineyards that are over 100 years old, spectacular views of the region from up high on the hillside, and get schooled by our lovely guides.
This estate lies outside the DO boundary, and so we will taste other single varietal wines like Cabernet and Petit Verdot, alongside the classic Tempranillo. The wines here have been ranked “best wine in the world” by Decanter at a major competition.
Pingus is unquestionably one of the world’s most coveted wines and is the most expensive wine in Spain. Last year we celebrated the fact that we were the first and only group to have ever visited the estate during harvest.
The owner, visionary Dane Peter Sisseck, came to Ribera del Duero in 1993 to make Hacienda Monasterio and saw huge potential in the old vines. Tiny yields, biodynamic and minute production levels and the smallest great winery you’ll ever see all add to the mystique (they don’t even have a website). The harvest demands will dictate whether Peter hosts us in person, otherwise we will be with superstar winemaker and my riotous gal pal Nathalie. We plan to taste the iconic wine in the Pingus vineyard. A very privileged visit and unique tasting.
Lunch at PESQUERA
Now for an epic lunch. Alejandro Fernandez believed there might be more to Ribera than Vega Sicilia and in 1972 licensed his bodega in the village of Pesquera where he started to make 100% Tempranillo wines aged in American oak. Since then he has become known as El Rey (the king) of Tempranillo and his Pesquera winery is named by Parker as one of the world’s top wine estates.
We’ll have a typical Spanish lunch of lamb accompanied by wines from each of the Fernandez’s 4 estates. Alejandro is in his 80’s but he always comes and has lunch with us. Last year lunch lasted till 5.30 pm and by the end of it everyone was dancing and singing in Spanish… After lunch we will tour the estate http://www.pesqueraafernandez.com/english/index.htm
Around 1730 we head off for a quick visit to the castle in Peñafiel, just around the corner, It was originally built in the 9th century and now houses the region’s wine museum. There’s a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside, as we are high up on a hill.
When we get back to the hotel, we have an optional Gin ‘workshop”. .. This is a new twist to the program for us. Spain is mad about Gin and there are so many different types and flavours. My mate Julio, the former Sommelier to Fidel Castro, will show us how to make the perfect G ‘n T, and Mojitos, and we’ll kick back with a few tapas. This is a lot of fun. The rest of the evening and dinner is on your own, if you’re still hungry after lunch…
WEDNESDAY September 18th
09.30 am Depart hotel
Check out of the hotel. We leave Ribera del Duero and head north towards Rioja, not missing the chance to see one of the most striking buildings in Spain en route.
A little coffee, maybe a Spanish Brandy, and then we’ll have a quick guided tour of Burgos Cathedral. This Gothic Cathedral is a world heritage site and holds the remains of El Cid. It is absolutely spectacular, taking hundreds of years to build.
We then make our way up to Remelluri, a wonderful single estate winery in Labastida in Rioja. On the bus on the way there we have a Sherry tasting and James will explain how Sherry is made and how to taste it.
REMELLURI LUNCH AND VERTICAL TASTING
Almost Tuscan in style, this is the family property of Spain’s most famous travelling winemaker Telmo Rodriguez. After a barrel tasting we sit down to a vertical of wines going back to the 1980’s over a long lunch. These wines are fantastic, and always some of the best on the trip.
We then head into the hills to a winery that nobody ever visits as a group, called Lanzaga. This is off the beaten track in the central part of Rioja Alavesa (the Basque part of Rioja). This is secret HQ of Remelluri’s most famous son, Telmo.http://www.remelluri.com/ing/intro.html
Telmo spent time learning his trade in Bordeaux and now makes wines across the great Spanish wine regions. He is the most respected flying winemaker in Spain, and focuses on reviving varietals that are almost extinct in remote parts of the country. A floppy haired maverick, that all the gals fall in love with, his terrific wines from across Spain showcase local varieties that you’ve probably never tasted, or heard of before. http://www.telmorodriguez.com/.
After the visit we check into the hotel in Villabuena de Alava around 1900. This small boutique hotel has a remarkable design and a warm welcome in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. We’re here for the 2 nights in Rioja. It’s a great hotel, with comfortable rooms and excellent service.
This evening, after having a big lunch, we’ll have a light dinner and tasting of reds and whites from the village (it happens to boast the highest number of bodegas in any Riojan village). The dining room has barrels suspended from the ceiling. Riojan chic. http://www.hotelviura.com/english/index.html
THURSDAY September 19th
10.00 am Depart hotel
We head to the nearby village of Samaniego for our first visit of the day.
REMIREZ DE GANUZA
Last year Fernando Remirez de Ganuza invited us to visit him. He is one of Rioja’s great characters, a serious wine broker from the region who used his contacts to acquire 70 hectares of prime Rioja Alavesa vineyards in the late 80s. He makes a variety of wines and uses some very unusual techniques. This visit shows another view of how local innovation can create wonderful wines in new styles. This contrasts with our next visit, to the temple to tradition in Haro – Lopez de Heredia.
LOPEZ DE HEREDIA
This is my favorite visit, perhaps in the world. A visit to this winery alone makes the trip worthwhile. I have never been to anything quite like it.
Many of the wines are aged for over a decade before release, often in barrels that are extremely old. Some spend 10 years in barrel and then 6 years in bottle before they are “ready”. This is no white Zin…The fermentation vats are over 150 years old. The underground cellars are several kilometers long, and it’s like being in a winery from the Middle Ages. The wines are phenomenal. They also make their own barrels here, and we will visit the cooperage.
The visit concludes with a decade by decade tasting of reds and whites from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s. All this is accompanied by a tapas lunch in a legendary setting. Fasten your seatbelts. This is a wine lovers dream.
At 1430 After an amazing morning visiting 2 contrasting bodegas, we make our way back to the hotel for a little siesta, or a bike ride around the village if you want, before setting off at 1715 for the nocturnal festivities.
MARQUES DE RISCAL
Frank Gehry’s designed one of the most unbelievable wineries in the world at Riscal. He also designed the Guggenheim Museum. Marques de Riscal is one of the classic Spanish wines and we enjoy a tutored tasting at the city of wine. After our tasting, we head down the road to Valpiedra for dinner.
VISIT AND MICHELIN DINNER AT VALPIEDRA
Martinez Bujanda is one of the most prestigious Riojan families - their first bodega was set up by Carlos and Pilar’s great grandfather Joaquin in 1889. Valpiedra is the flagship bodega of the family in a fabulous location on the banks of the River Ebro at Fuenmayor and is the only winery in Rioja to qualify for the title of Gran Pago (‘top single estate vineyards’).
Valpiedra is a great expression of the quality of single estate wines in Rioja and a fitting final visit in Rioja. After the visit we have a formal dinner prepared by the Echapresto brothers who run the Michelin starred Ventamoncalvillo restaurant in nearby Daroca. Wine flows.
FRIDAY September 20th
10.30 AM Depart Hotel
There’s time to sleep, or explore the village more before heading off for our last winery visit and lunch by the ocean, on the Basque coast, just over 1 hour away.
Txakoli is the most Basque of wines, a lively and refreshing accompaniment to the best Basque pintxos, made in a similar style to vinho verde. We visit the most renowned txakoli producer Txomin Etxaniz, which has a history of making wine in the village of Getaria since 1649 and where the vines tumble down the steep hillsides overlooking the Basque coast.
We see the vineyards and the winery before enjoying a tasting of Txomin Etxaniz txakoli overlooking the ocean accompanied by some local fish.
At 1330 KAIA KAIPE
Our final lunch is seafood by the ocean. As well as being one of the best fish restaurants in the Basque country, a food mecca, Kaia Kaipe houses one of the finest cellars in Spain. We enjoy locally caught turbot grilled on the asadores that the village is famous for, accompanied by the txakoli from the vineyards up in the hills overlooking the village. It’s a great relaxing last lunch, which always sees a lot of wine flow. Detox starts the following day.
We set off for Bilbao, not far away. We’ll drop people off at Bilbao airport around 1600 and then in central Bilbao. From the airport you can catch flights back to Madrid, or to dozens of other places in Europe. Or you can stick around in the local area. We’ll drop you at your hotel if you wish.
This will be another luxurious wine tour, hosted by James Lawther MW and a local Spanish wine expert, visiting the top estates with a small group of 15-20 fun-loving people. To request the booking form please email me at James@finevintageltd.com
We also run tours to Bordeaux, Tuscany and other destinations – please visit www.finevintageltd.com for more information.
Featured wine tasting holiday to Spain:
Fine Vintage Ltd is delighted to offer a unique collection of guided wine tours for travel in 2013. Our luxury wine tour holidays have been carefully tailored to suit your tastes and needs. You will stay in fine hotels and luxury inns; enjoy wine tastings in Spain's top wineries; dine in the most exclusive restaurants, and enjoy the company of others who share a passion for wine.
James Cluer, MW, is your host on this unforgettable wine tour through some of the most charming wineries in Spain. Each wine tour holiday has been designed by James, whose passion for wine, invaluable expertise and knowledge, as well as, personal insight, willl give you a brilliant perspective into Spanish wine. James' relationships with the winemakers and owners will provide you unique access that goes beyond other wine tours. See the beauty of Spain and learn the history of this amazing region that attracts visitors from all over the world. This is the ultimate wine connoisseur's tour of Spain, and offers the very best food and wine experience for anyone who loves wine.
Guided wine tour packages to Spain by Fine Vintage Ltd include hotel accommodation, all meals except those noted, all wine tastings and wine at meals, winery visits, and local transport. Exclusive wine tasting vacations to Spain include visits to Pingus, Aalto and Pesquera in Ribera del Duero, and Jose Pariente in Rueda. Roda, Marques de Riscal, Lopez de Heredia, Remelluri and Lanzaga in Rioja.
These luxurious guided wine tours to Spain have been arranged by your host, leading wine expert, James Cluer, MW. As a Master of Wine, James is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on wine. The MW is considered to be the pinnacle of qualifications in the wine industry. There are only 30 MW's in North America and 300 worldwide. Exclusive wine tasting vacations to Spain.