Spain Wine Tour
Luxury Wine Tour to Spain
September 15-19, 2014
Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro
with James Lawther, Master of Wine
Aalto Abadia Retuerta Marques de Riscal
Pesquera Remelluri Lopez de Heredia
Numanthia Valpiedra Remirez de Ganuza
Luis Cañas Alcazar in Segovia Peñafiel castle Kaia Kaipe fish lunch 1* Michelin dinner Pesquera hotel Burgos cathedral
In collaboration with my friend James Lawther MW and Jeremy Shaw we have put together another ALL STAR trip to the greatest wineries in Rioja and Castile.
In Ribera del Duero we visit Aalto, Abadia Retuerta and have a long lunch at the pioneer estate of Pesquera. In Toro we see 100 year old vines and taste at the legendary Numanthia.
In Rioja we visit and taste at Valpiedra, Marques de Riscal, have an old vintage vertical at Lopez de Heredia and Remelluri, and cap it off with Remirez de Ganuza and Luis Cañas. You will 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 with verticals at some of the top estates.
In the warm Spanish fall, right around harvest, our tour will introduce you to stunning architectural wonders both ancient and modern, take you inside a Bodega for a Michelin star dinner, and present a series of winemaker lunches at iconic estates like Pesquera and Remelluri.
It will be a great way to learn about Spanish culture and history as well as its finest wines. Jeremy, our local guide, is an expert on Spain and will ensure that you experience the best of each region’s culture as well as their wines. James Lawther MW, writer for Decanter magazine and Bordeaux resident with excellent experience in Spain, will also guide the trip and is a wealth of knowledge in all matters vinous.
We're taking about 20 people. So don't wait. Not only it is a privilege to have these appointments, we will be visiting in the middle of September, appreciating the best wine experiences that Spain has to offer just as the harvest begins.
Price: US$2,995 including tax
This price includes all accommodation, visits and tastings at wineries, all meals (there are just some light tapas one evening), all wine at meals, and local transport. Flights are not included.
If you are travelling by yourself there will be a single supplement of US$700
To join the tour: Please see the full itinerary and book please visit http://www.finevintageltd.com/wine-tours/spain If you have any questions please contact us at Info@FineVintageLtd.com
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. Our tours are very popular and can sell out fast, which is why we have so many destinations because of the high number of repeat guests. The trips are suited to all wine lovers. We have welcomed fellow Masters of Wine, people in the trade, but most of all we have casual wine lovers from all walks of life looking for a fun holiday exploring the great estates.
All of the visits are confirmed. Here is the program.
MONDAY September 15th
Please make your own flight arrangements to Madrid. We will leave from central Madrid next to the Westin Palace (5 star). If you prefer a fun modern 4 star hotel nearby we recommend the ME Reina Victoria in the Plaza Santa Ana.
The Westin Palace Hotel, Plaza de las Cortes 7, 28014, Madrid. www.westin.com/palacemadrid Tel +34 913607666
ME Reina Victoria, Plaza Santa Ana 14, 28012, Madrid http://www.melia.com/hotels/spain/madrid/me-madrid-reina-victoria/index.html Tel + 34 917016000
Meeting with James and Jeremy in the back of the lobby of the Westin Palace in Madrid (in the lounge area up the stairs from check in). Board the luxury bus and we're off, with a little cava to kick start the tour. We then drive to Segovia, about one and a half hours away. Here we have a guided tour of the Alcazar, Segovia’s landmark fortress, and a stunning castle perched on the edge of a cliff. This was home to many of the Kings of Spain. Walt Disney modeled the castle in his logo on the Alcazar.
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 and Jeremy 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.
After lunch we visit our first winery in the increasingly renowned region of Toro. Columbus carried wine from Toro on the Santa Maria and today the region is producing some stunning wines. We arrive at Numanthia for a tour and tasting with the winemaker Manuel Louzada. This is LVMH’s only winery in Spain, and has received a 100 point score from Parker. We’ll see some of the oldest vines in Spain, taste from the barrel with Manuel, all before heading for dinner at the La Fragua restaurant up the road in Toro. http://www.numanthia.com/en/privacy#/en/heritage/tinta-de-toro
DINNER IN TORO
It’s a short drive from the bodega to the beautiful hilltop town of Toro. We pass by the beautiful Colegiata church and the main square before dinner at La Fragua, a traditional but smart Castilian restaurant. http://www.fraguadetoro.es/
After dinner, we drive east to the Hotel Pesquera in the heart of Ribera del Duero, where we will spend the first 2 nights. This is a brand new hotel built by the so-called King of Tempranillo 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
TUESDAY September 16th
09.30 am Depart hotel
Breakfast, and then we'll drive a short distance along Ribera del Duero’s golden mile to Abadia Retuerta.
Abadia Retuerta showcases 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 take a close up tour of the estate, last year it was a vineyard walk, the year before we jumped in 4 by 4s. We see vineyards that are over 100 years old, enjoy 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 is permitted to make single varietals from Syrah, Cabernet and Petit Verdot, alongside the classic Tempranillo. We taste a selection of single estate wines and the award winning Seleccion Especial, which has been ranked “best wine in the world” by Decanter at a major competition. http://www.abadia-retuerta.com/en/
After Abadia Retuerta we go to one of the greatest names in Ribera, a cult winery called Aalto, for a very exclusive visit.
Javier Zaccagnini and Mariano Garcia (the oenologist of Vega Sicilia for 30 years) make one of Ribera’s finest red wines. They cultivate 42 acres of prime tempranillo plots to make 2 very fine wines: Aalto and Aalto PS. The winery is minimalist and stunning, dedicated to quality wine production. There’s no tasting room here. They don’t usually receive visitors. It is one of Ribera’s (and Spain’s) most famous estates. We enjoy a visit and barrel room tasting of old Tempranillo vines in the heart of Ribera’s golden mile. For wine lovers it’s a WOW http://www.aalto.es/
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
After Pesquera we make 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, and we take a brief chance to enjoy the Ribera landscape before heading back to the hotel, 5 minutes away.
When we get back to the hotel, we have an optional Gin ‘workshop”. Spain is mad about Gin and there are so many different types and flavors. Alejandro’s barman 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 17th
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 landmarks 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 famous single estate winery in Labastida in Rioja.
REMELLURI LUNCH AND VERTICAL TASTING
Almost Tuscan in style, this is the family property of Spain’s most respected travelling winemaker Telmo Rodriguez. Telmo spent time learning his trade in Bordeaux and now makes wines across the great Spanish wine regions. He is the most influential flying winemaker in Spain.
Telmo and his sister Amaia run the family jewel that is Remelluri, an icon in Rioja producing wines with tremendous complexity, finesse and elegance. This is great wine, in the strictest sense. After a barrel tasting we sit down to a vertical of wines going back to the 1980’s, enjoyed over a delicious long lunch. Welcome to Rioja. http://www.remelluri.com/ing/intro.html
After lunch, it’s time for an introduction to the heart of Basque Rioja and some stunning views at Luis Cañas.
In the village where we are staying there are more bodegas than any other village in Spain. Luis Cañas is the best, a family winery since 1928 that has reinvented itself through its more modern style Amaren range to complement the more classic Luis Cañas wines. Five of Spain’s seven 3 Michelin star restaurants carry Luis Cañas wines, now a Riojan benchmark. We visit the vineyards and have a tasting before the few minute drive down the hill to our hotel in the village. http://www.luiscanas.com/en/
After the visit we check into our luxury hotel called The Viura in Villabuena de Alava. 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.
In the evening, after having a big lunch, we’ll have a light dinner and tasting of reds and whites from the village. The dining room has barrels suspended from the ceiling. Riojan chic. http://www.hotelviura.com/english/index.html
THURSDAY September 18th
10.00 am Depart hotel
We head to the nearby village of Samaniego for our first visit of the day.
REMIREZ DE GANUZA
Fernando Remirez de Ganuza 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. You’ll see some things you’ve likely never seen before in wine production. This contrasts greatly with our next visit, the temple to tradition in Haro. http://www.remirezdeganuza.com/ingles
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. This is traditional Rioja, to say the least.
Many of the wines are aged for over a decade before release, often in barrels that are extremely old. In fact, 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 tasting of reds and whites from the 80s, 90s and 2000s, accompanied by some light tapas in a legendary setting. Fasten your seatbelts. This is a wine lovers dream. Lopez de Heredia is off the charts. http://www.lopezdeheredia.com/english/arquitectura/tienda.html
After an amazing morning visiting 2 contrasting bodegas, we travel back to the hotel where we taste some classic sherries with tapas for lunch allowing time for a little siesta, or a bike ride around the village if you want, before setting off again at 5 pm for our final evening’s fun.
MARQUES DE RISCAL
Another benchmark. Another classic. Marques de Riscal is one of the great names in Spanish wines. We’ll enjoy a tasting of their range at the city of wine followed by a brief tour of the buildings.
What is most amazing about this visit, in addition to the wines, is the architecture. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum established Bilbao as a tourist destination. He followed it up with the remarkable Marques de Riscal city of wine and hotel in Elciego. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, anywhere. After our tasting, we head down the road to Valpiedra for dinner. http://www.marquesderiscal.com/index.php?setIdioma=2
VISIT AND MICHELIN DINNER AT VALPIEDRA
Martinez Bujanda is one of the most prestigious Riojan families and Valpiedra and is the only winery in Rioja to qualify for the title of Gran Pago (‘top single estate vineyards’).
The family’s first bodega was set up by Carlos and Pilar’s great grandfather Joaquin in 1889. Valpiedra is the flagship, in a fabulous location on the banks of the River Ebro. It’s the ultimate expression of the quality of single estate wines in Rioja, and a fitting final visit, not least because we follow the tour and tasting with a formal dinner prepared by the Echapresto brothers who run the Michelin starred Ventamoncalvillo restaurant in nearby Daroca. It’s our last blow out evening. The wine flows. http://www.familiamartinezbujanda.com/valpiedra/
FRIDAY September 19th
10.30 AM Depart Hotel
There’s time to sleep in after the big dinner, 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. As soon as we’re done we head into Getaria to enjoy the best that this Basque fishing village has to offer. http://www.txominetxaniz.com/en/
At 1330 KAIA KAIPE
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, with some unique wines.
After lunch we set off for Bilbao. We’ll drop people off at Bilbao airport around 1600 (we will be no later than 1615, unless there’s exceptional traffic). From here you can catch flights back to Madrid, or to dozens of other places in Europe. Or you can stick around in Bilbao. We’ll drop you at our recommended hotel in Bilbao if you wish. The Hotel Carlton is the grand old lady of Basque hotels, once host to Orson Welles and of course Ernest Hemingway.
The Hotel Carlton, Federico Moyua Square, 2, 48009, Bilbao
email@example.com Tel +34 94416 2200
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 about 20 fun-loving people. If you have any questions please email us at Info@FineVintageLtd.com
Details on all our tours to Bordeaux, Tuscany, Champagne-Burgundy-Rhone, Australia and elsewhere can be found at www.FineVintageLtd.com Every tour we’ve run has sold out and many guests are repeat offenders.
Featured wine tasting holiday to Spain:
Fine Vintage Ltd is delighted to offer a unique collection of guided wine tours for travel in 2014. 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.