Tour: Spain: Rioja and Ribera de Duero 5 Nights
Spanish wineries are known as "bodegas" and the wine makers, "bodegueros". The bodegueros make their products from a large variety of grapes - too large to list here. But for appreciating your wine adventure you should know that the wines from Rioja, set in the foothills of the Pyrenees close to the French border and 45minutes South-East of Bilbao (where the famous Guggenhiem museum is located), are typically built around the Tempranillo grape using traditional production methods, technique that came from Bordeaux in the 19th Century, and oak. Aging in oak is one of the key characteristics of the Riojas even some of their white wines are matured in oak. It's not unusual to find the better reds blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Rioja is divided into three parts, the Alta (highest) in the west, the Basque country of Alavesa in the heart of the region and the Baja, the lowest and warmest part, producing the most alcoholic wines.
The Ribera de Duero is between Madrid and Santander, this region near Burgos is the fastest developing wine district in the country. The combination of cold nights, sunny days, the highest altitudes of any wine-producing region in Spain, and fertile alkaline soil produce flavorful, award-winning wines.
Spain has a similar classification system to France and Italy, with all classified wine regions regulated under the Denominación de Origen (DO) system. Red wines are often labeled as Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. In Rioja and the Ribera del Duero, Crianza wines are two years old, with at least twelve months spent in cask (elsewhere the oak ageing may legally be restricted to just six months). Reservas are three years old (at least one year in cask), Gran Reservas five years old (two in cask, three in bottle.
The Must Sees and Dos
Madrid, the Capital and art center of Spain. You've been to the Louvre and the Uffizi, now is your chance to visit the 3rd greatest Museum in all of Europe, The Prado. And, if you love cultural and artistic history, you've got to see the Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums as well. While Barcelona is king of Spanish cuisine, Madrid is the Queen of the tapa bar experience, the most civilized and exciting way to meet the beautiful people of Spain.
Wineries You May Visit
Properties will be a selection of producers to give the broadest possible experience of the styles of winemaking of each region. Some smaller producers do not speak English. Therefore choice of visits is dependent on guests' ability in Spanish language, as well as normal constraints of time of year and advance booking notice. All visits are requested on an individual basis and winemakers' schedules can fill well in advance at certain times of the year. Visits are personally selected by Peter Smith, based on his extensive experience in the region, and are often with winemakers who are personal friends of his such as Pesquera, Arzuaga Navarro, Villacampa, Torremilamos, Pagos del Rey, Ventosilla, Marques de Riscal, Remirez de Ganuza, Valpiedra, Allende, Ysios, Tobia, Muga, Roda, López de Heredia.
is a beautiful, family-owned hotel which is part of the Penalba-Lopez winery. It is situated in the midst of hillside vineyards outside the town of Aranda de Duero, with its own restaurant and lovely grounds.
Hotel Castillo el Collado
is a very small, family-owned boutique hotel in the mediaeval village of Laguardia, in the heart of Rioja. Each room is individually decorated and the service and food in the restaurant is outstanding.
Hotel Barceló Nervión
is situated right in the center of Bilbao just 200 meters from the Guggenheim Museum and the old city, is one of the city's most emblematic hotels. The hotel features WiFi (Wireless Fidelity), the latest data transmission technology, for wireless broadband Internet access. The high quality of the facilities and services offered by this completely renovated hotel make it far superior to its official 3* categorization. It was awarded with the Ekoscan Diploma in 2004 for environmental improvement, being the first hotel in Vizcaya to obtain it.
- 6 days and 5 Nights hotel in shared double/twin room including taxes
- 5 breakfasts
- 1 lunch at Arzuaga Navarro, including fine wines, paired with food
- 1 gourmet dinner at Hotel-BodegaTorremilanos
- 1 gourmet dinner at Castillo El Collado (wine not included)
- 8 VIP winery visits
- All wine tasting fees
- Artisan visit
- For self-drive program: includes rental car or van for tour period, basic insurance (upgrades available) maps and detailed driving instructions / tips if you choose this option.
- For private chauffeur program: includes car or van for tour period, wine expert driver & guided commentary if you choose this option.
- For days and nights when lunch or dinner is not included, Wine World management will provide recommended dining establishments and even make your reservation at no additional charge.
Note: transportation to/from dinner is not included, and will be arranged with local taxis as needed
Round trip airfare, customs fees, telephone, tips and taxis, alcoholic beverages, wine and dining that is not specifically included in itinerary and personal items.
All prices shown are per person double occupancy (twin share) and ultimately depend on program chosen, preferred accommodation, number of guests and type/size of rental car if self-drive. Prices that "can be as low as" refer to lowest per person price possible based on a group (3 couples, etc) of six like-minded wine and gourmet dining enthusiasts traveling together.
Self Drive Program
priced from $2,279.00 per person double occupancy.
priced from $4,979.00 per person double occupancy but can be as low as $3,149.00.
Please Note: For our clients who do not wish to worry about driving and following our spot-on directions, we recommend our private chauffeur-driven and guided version of the same itinerary but with wonderful local knowledge, insider information and "flavour" that only an experienced and friendly Spanish driver / guide can provide. It's truly a great value and a relaxing, fun experience.
Rioja & Ribera de Duero Wine World Itinerary
Your Wine World adventure can begin on a Monday.
Duero - 2 nights (dep mid PM to Laguardia), Rioja - 2 nights, Haro last day en route to Bilbao - 1 night for Guggenheim.
Morning - Pick up your rental car and drive north on the autoroute E5 to Aranda de Duero. Follow directions supplied to your hotel - the lovely winery-hotel of Torremilamos.
Afternoon - Once you have settled into your room you will be hosted for a private tour of the winery, owned by a Spanish family who fell in love with the property and have developed this beautiful site to produce very high quality wines.
Evening - You will enjoy a special wine-tasting dinner menu in the lovely dining room of your hotel this evening, to introduce you to the wines of the region and of your hosts.
Morning - Drive to the historic town of Penafiel to explore the town and it's fort, dominating the local landscape with its ship-like form standing over the town.Continue along the Duero Valley to Valladolid to explore the old city and lunch at your choice of restaurant from our recommended list.
Afternoon - Continue west to the Toro region for a visit to Bodega Villacampa or another producer, to discover the wines of this region that is rapidly growing in popularity, and where many Duero producers are investing in new ventures.
Evening - Return to your hotel at the end of the day, with dinner at the hotel or in Aranda as you prefer. Dinner reservations can be made for you in your choice of our recommended restaurants at no extra charge.
Morning - This morning you will explore the Duero region a little more, as you drive through the valley to visit your first winery of the day; normally Pesquera, the famous estate of Alejandro Fernández. Follow our directions along picturesque country roads to the impressive estate of Arzuaga Navarro, to enjoy a specially prepared tasting lunch in the restaurant overlooking their vineyards and of course a tour of the winery.
Afternoon - After lunch you will depart for your drive through Burgos to the Rioja region. You can choose to stop at another winery such as Pagos del Rey or Ventosilla (Prado Rey) as you depart, or you can opt to drive straight to Laguardia in the heart of the Rioja with more time to relax in the afternoon. On arrival at the picturesque hilltop village of Laguardia, check into your hotel and enjoy a stroll through the charming, narrow cobbled streets to watch the sunset from the park that looks out over the landscape of the Rioja countryside.
Evening - Dinner reservations can be made for you in your choice of our recommended restaurants at no extra charge.
Morning - Today is spent tasting the wines of the Rioja. We will arrange a visit for you this morning, and two Afternoon - more this afternoon, at top wineries such as Marques de Riscal, Remirez de Ganuza, Valpiedra, Allende or Ysios, or perhaps in one of our favorite "insiders" wineries like Tobia, to discover excellent wines before they are famous.
Evening - Dinner will be in the excellent dining room of the Castillo El Collado in Laguardia, where you will enjoy excellent cuisine and friendly, attentive service from the family and staff of this lovely, historic hotel.
Morning - Depart your hotel and drive west to the town of Haro, en route to Bilbao. We will arrange a visit this morning to a top winery in Haro's "Barrio Estacion" such as Muga, Roda or López de Heredia, then you are free to lunch in the town before continuing north for about an hour to Bilbao.
Afternoon - Here you will have time this afternoon to visit the Guggenheim museum, then check into your hotel Evening - and enjoy the night-life and restaurants of the city on your last night.
Note: if you wish to spend more time in the museum we can remove the morning wine visit and you can drive straight to Bilbao for the whole day.
Check out of your hotel at leisure and continue on the remainder of your vacation.
Note: Your rental car, if on a self-drive tour, runs from the time you picked up on the first day to the same time on this day. If you keep the car longer than this you will incur additional costs.
Book this tour at www.wineworldtours.com