Rioja, Spain - 5 nights
Available September - Monday to Saturday
This wine tour spotlights Spain’s most famous and historic wine, Rioja. It also features the newer prestige wine zone of Ribera del Duero. Along with in-depth private tastings of top wineries, you’ll visit the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Gothic cathedral of Burgos, and enjoy gourmet wine dinners every night.
WELCOME TO SPAIN’S WINE COUNTRY
Your pick-up is in the medieval university city of Valladolid, a 1-hour train ride from Madrid. Today’s wineries are found along the Duero river, which flows all the way to the Port region of Portugal. Here the river valley is lined with wineries that grow Spain’s dominant grape, tempranillo. We’ll visit two leading wine estates, including the maverick Abadia Retuerta, as well as the wine museum at the Emina winery. Our hotel is in a renovated monastery in Peñafiel, where we’ll visit the castle of Peñafiel. Dinner in town features Iberian jamon, roasted red peppers, and smoky paprika-flavored dishes.
INTRODUCTION TO RIOJA
Today you can compare wines from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. The morning features a tasting at Pesquera, one of the first wineries to gain notice and accolades in this area. Then we transfer to Rioja, driving along the old Pilgrims Way and past the Rio Ojo. We’ll stop in the town of Briones, a charming old city on the River Ebro. Our first winery stop in Rioja is also the region’s smallest: the boutique Miguel Merino. We’ll then settle into our hotel, a beautifully renovated convent in Haro, the capital of Rioja wine country.
Rioja has many incarnations, from old to new. We start with the most modern, visiting the pioneer Roda. If the weather cooperates, we’ll hop in a jeep and visit their experimental tempranillo vineyards, located next to ancient Roman irrigation troughs.
Then it’s on to a top boutique winery in Samaniego (pop. 400) to visit another member of the Spanish New Wave: Remirez de Ganuza. There will be time pre-dinner to visit the local tapas bars in Haro.
FRANK GEHRY IN RIOJA
After designing the Guggenheim in Bilbao, architect Frank Gehry went on to create a magnificent winery and spa for the Marchese de Riscal, one of Rioja’s most historic estates. We’ll tour this landmark winery and sample their portfolio of wines. After lunch, we’ll visit a boutique winery for contrast: Contino. Small, but significant, they established the “chateaux” concept in Rioja in the 1970s.
Free time to stroll in Haro and look for storks nesting in the steeples and rooftops.
PAST MASTERS OF RIOJA
Once upon a time, Rioja was made to gain a sherry-like oxidation. Today, there are a few wineries that still follow this time-honored approach. We’ll visit one of them, Lopez di Heredia, and see some of the oldest bottle-aging cellars in Spain. Our afternoon features the port city of Bilbao and the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenhem Museum. There will be free time to go inside the museum, stroll along the river promenade, or visit the old city center.
Afterwards, we head to Burgos for the nightwhere you can visit one of Spain’s largest medieval cathedrals, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We depart immediately after breakfast to drive back to Madrid and say adios! Drop-off is at the Madrid airport, which is connected to the city by subway.
*Itinerary changes very slightly each year so as to improve the tour
A minimum of 4 participants is required to run this tour and the tour in limited to a maximum of 14 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Meet: Valladolid (near Madrid)
*It is necessary to arrive in Spain the day before the tour begins, in order to meet the morning shuttle.
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a deposit of US$450 per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.
*Five (5) nights accommodations (double room) in three deluxe hotels, with breakfast buffet
•Four (4) gourmet dinners (three courses with wine)
•One (1) welcome lunch
*All wine tastings mentioned
•Shuttle at to Madrid airport at conclusion
Transportation: We provide one van pick-up on day of arrival/departure at designated train station or airport (call for times). All ground transport during stay.
•One (1) dinner on your own and most lunches
•After-dinner drinks, or special wines at tastings that are not part of what is provided to the group
•Optional entry to Guggenheim museum and Burgos cathedral
•Items of a personal nature
•Anything not specifically mentioned as included
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Furnished upon request.
This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE.
*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.