Spain: Priorat & Penedes 5 Nights
The RegionThese wine regions are part of "Cataluna" which borders the Mediterranean and is located southwest of Barcelona (its capital). British wine writer Tony Lord has called Penedes the "heartland" of Spanish viticultural revolution attributed to the vast contributions of the Torres family and where the science of modern winemaking came to Spain. Despite the increasing number of fine varietal red wines coming from Penedes and some balanced fresh varietal whites, the wine most associated with Penedes is sparkling aka Cava (the Catalan word for cellar) made up of 50% Viura blended with Xarel-lo, Parella and more often of French chardonnay. Much of the credit here goes to Codorniu and it's importation of method champenoise from France back in the 1870's.
In Priorat, the soil is volcanic and full of "mica" which reflects the sun onto the vine grapes. The region offers long, hot and and dry summers, offset by cold winters. The result is the Garnacha grape, a full-bodied, intense red grape with high alcohol content (13.5%) often resulting in an even higher alcohol wine! Wines are becoming so good that they, along with wine from Ribera del Duero, are rivaling Rioja as Spain's premier wine region.
Must Sees and DosBarcelona is Gaudi and Gaudi is Architecture. Throw in the bold and provocative work of Jean Nouvel and you'll understand why the city is on the cutting edge of must see architecture and urban-mix style that reflects Barcelona's complex culture. Eat! Eat! Eat! The legions of young "new wave" chefs, led by the audacious Ferran Adrià, have made Barcelona the place for incredible and creative cuisine. Critics easily say dining in Barcelona approaches if not surpasses that of current day Paris. And when you're there you must visit Quimet & Quimet, the too popular (for good reason) tapas emporium. The Bilbao Museum. Incredible...says it all.
Wineries You May VisitProperties 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 experience in the region, and are often with winemakers who are friends of his. Note that driving in these regions can be challenging as roads are narrow and winding, often with unguarded steep drops. Extreme care is required, particularly at night. The Chaurffer program could alleviate this. Here are the wineries we think you'd like: Costers del Siurana, Freixnet, Cordonniu, Cavas Nadal, Parés Baltà, Alvaro Palacios, Clos Mogador, Vall Llach, Clos Erasmus, Rotllan Torra, Mas Doix, Alvaro Palacios, Masia Duch and Cellers de Scala Dei to name a few.
AccommodationHotel Cal Llops is a boutique, family-owned hotel situated in the tiny village of Gratallops, which happens to be in the center of the Priorat wine region. With this central location and easy access (for Priorat) this is the ideal home base while visiting this wine region.
Can Bonastre Wine Resort has just 12 rooms which are unique and original, modern and minimalist. There are two lounges where you can relax, and the Spa offers sauna, vapor bath, indoor swimming pool with water jets and two massage rooms. Standing out among its treatments is the wine therapy. This will be your home while in Penedes.
- 6 days and 5 Nights hotel in shared double/twin room
- Breakfast daily (5)
- 1 gourmet dinner at Cal Llops
- 2 gourmet lunches at El Cairat and Restaurant Masia Aran (wine not included)
- Olive-oil tasting
- Organ recital
- 7 Winery visits
- All wine tasting fees
- For Self-drive program: includes rental car or van with basic insurance, maps and detailed driving instructions/tips and contact information if you choose this option
- For Chauffeur program : includes car or van , English-speaking wine expert driver with guided commentary if you choose this option
- Four days and nights when lunch or dinner is not included, Wine World Tours management will provide dining recommendations and even make your reservation at no additional charge
ExclusionsRound trip airfare, customs fees, telephone, tips and taxis, alcoholic beverages, wine and dining that is not specifically included in itinerary and personal items.
PricingAll 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 $2,439.00 per person double occupancy.
Chauffeur Program priced from $5,099.00 per person double occupancy but can be as low as $3,379.00.
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.
Priorat & Penedes ItineraryYour Wine & Gourmet Adventure can begin on Monday.
Morning - Pick up your rental car, fight your way out of Barcelona's traffic (the hardest part of your trip!) and drive south to the Priorat region, one of the most exciting parts of today's wine world. Follow directions supplied to your hotel - the delightful Cal Llops, in the village of Gratallops right in the heart of Priorat's best vineyard country.
Afternoon - Once you have settled into your room you can either drive, or walk down the hill to Costers del Siurana for a tour of the winery, created about 20 years ago by Carlos Pastrana, one of the pioneers of the current renaissance of the Priorat region.
Dinner - You will enjoy our Welcome Dinner in the intimate dining room of your hotel this evening, to introduce you to the wines of the region and the excellent cuisine of your hosts.
Morning - After a relaxed breakfast, enjoy a walk around the village to visit Lluís Riera's pottery studio and shop and the "Agrobotiga" wine shop, belonging to the Vinicola Cooperative which is worth a visit. We have arranged a winery visit for you in the late morning, before you drive out to La Vilella Baixa for lunch at Racó del Priorat, a local no frills restaurant with very good food (not included). Stop at Consolació hermitage on your way, for wonderful views over Priorat
Afternoon - In the afternoon we have arranged another winery visit for you close to the Scala Dei Priory, which is your next scheduled stop - the ruins of the Carthusian Priory which gave the region its name and which brought the 12th century revival of winemaking.
Dinner - Returning to Gratallops you may choose to dine in one of the restaurants of the village, or stay home to enjoy more specialties of your hotel's chef.
Morning - On you final day in the Priorat we will arrange two morning visits to wineries in Torroja del Priorat and Porrera, then you can continue your drive into Falset, the largest town of the Priorat region. Here, you'll you will enjoy a special tasting menu lunch with matching wines at El Cairat, a small exclusive restaurant whose owner and chef, Juli Mestre has been featured in the Wine Spectator.
Afternoon - After lunch you have time to explore the town, before a special olive-oil tasting with Gerard Amorós from the Priorat Olive Oil Farmers' Association.
Dinner - This evening you will return to Torroja to enjoy a private recital on the historic organ in the church, followed by dinner at the Abadia restaurant in the village.
Morning - Depart Gratallops and drive about 90 minutes into the Penedes region, famous for Spain's sparkling "Cava" wines - although you will also discover excellent red and white still wines here. Some of Spain's largest producers are located in this region, with famous names like Freixnet and Cordonniu, so you will certainly be visiting some large properties with well-established tourism centers. However, there are also many small producers who are far less well-known but produce excellent wines, and we will include some of these in your visit schedule also.
We won't schedule any visits this morning, in case you want to make a later start from the Priorat, but your Afternoon - lunch is arranged at Restaurant Masia Aran on your arrival (wine not included).
Afternoon - your first visit will be to one of the larger producers, then you will continue to the exclusive Can Bonastre Wine Resort, your home for the next two nights. Situated in Masquefa on a 16th-century estate, surrounded by vines and the mountains of Montserrat, this is the ideal place to stay in the Penedes region.
Dinner - we've left this night open for you to decide your preference - there is a wide range of dining options within 15 km of your hotel.
Morning - Your last day will include visits to two more wine estates, one more large and famous company and a boutique producer such as Cavas Nadal or Parés Baltà, to give you a full idea of the region's character.
Afternoon - Lunch will be open for you depending on where you visit (we will provide detailed restaurant choices with your final itinerary).
Dinner - Returning to your hotel you will be able to make the most of this relaxing situation on your final night, with dinner at home in the delightful Tribia restaurant (not included), combining traditional Mediterranean cooking with a modern touch.
Morning - After breakfast, check out of your hotel at leisure and continue on the remainder of your vacation or back to Barcelona for return trip home.
Note: Your rental car, if on a self-drive tour, runs from the time you picked it 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.