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For a wine lover, a wine tour of Spain & Portugal  is an easy way to experience the best wine regions of both countries. For us, the ideal Iberian wine route starts in Barcelona and ends in Porto or Lisbon. The cava cellars of Penedes and mythical reds of the Priorat wine region are highly accessible from Barcelona. Then from Priorat head to the source of Spanish red wine, the famous la Rioja. Just 3 hours away is the most exclusive wine region of Spain, Ribera del Duero, where the Tempranillo grape is king. From here, one crosses the border from Spain into Portugal, and enjoys the scenic beauty of the Douro Valley,  the most iconic wine region of Portugal. If you end your Spain & Portugal wine tour in Porto a visit to one of the many historic lodges along the Douro river with Port tastings is a must! Continuing to Lisbon, the undiscovered Vinho Verde and authentic rural Alentejo wine regions are mandatory stops.

For those wishing to experience the best of Spanish and Portuguese wine regions, we have carefully crafted our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain & Portugal. This 10 day wine tour covers the best regions of Spain & Portugal, the most interesting wineries and the most beautiful scenery.

Vinyes del celler Clos Figures, DOQ Priorat, darrera, el poble del Lloar, Gratallops, Priorat, Tarragona

Fly to Barcelona and start your wine trip in the Penedes Wine Region of Spain, famed as Cava country. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine produced in the Traditional Method, just like Champagne. This Spanish bubbly was awarded it’s own D.O. (Wine Appellation) in 1986 and, although there are a few Spanish wine regions that produce Cava, the wine region of Penedes is the main area of production, over 90%. The Penedes wine region flagship grape variety is Xarel.lo making it the Penedes cava icon. Your visit to Penedes should include at least one of the spectacular modernist cava cellars as well as one of the emerging high- quality organic producers.

Your wine lovers tour continues to the Priorat Wine Region of Spain, where exceptional quality, red wines await you. These limited production reds are labelled DOC (Qualified Appellation of Origin) a denomination reserved to only Priorat and la Rioja. The Priorat wine region is famous for its mineral-rich soil and terraced hillsides of slate (called licorella by the locals), which create a unique humidity for the vines. Priorat wines blend the wine varietals of Garnacha and Cariñena and are substantial, inky wines of distinct character and reputation.

A not-to-be-missed stop is the Rioja Wine Region of Spain. Here we love to showcase the contrasts between historic and traditional wineries, some of them still making their own barrels and the sleek, modern cellars with amazing state-of -the-art wine-making techniques.  In the Rioja wine region there is a heavy use of oak for long ageing, which is the signature Rioja style, resulting in polished reds based mainly on Tempranillo but also Graciano and Garnacha blends. Bodegas Roda nave fermantación

Continuing west, you arrive to the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain. Here you will taste the more modern, full-bodied and slightly more sophisticated single-vineyard wines at two of our favourite cellars. Part of Ribera del Duero wines’ uniqueness is due to Tinto Fino, the indigenous type of Tempranillo grape. The most mythical and inaccessible Spanish wineries are here, along the legendary Ribera del Duero Golden Mile and you will be lucky to visit one.

Crossing the border now you arrive to the beautiful Douro Valley wine region in Portugal, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world! Its characteristic terraced vineyards on the sloping hills meet the meandering river below. The in-vogue again Port wine is made here at various quintas (port wine cellars) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges. Historically, Port wine was shipped downriver to the city of Porto for ageing, aboard sail-boats called Rabelos. Nowadays, the Douro Valley wine region of Portugal produces not only Port wines but also excellent reds mainly using the Touriga Nacional grape.

Douro Valley

 

Following the route of Port wine, as the grape juice once did from the Douro, you arrive to Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia, famous for the Port Wine Lodges of historic port wine producers. Port houses have aged their wines in Vila Nova de Gaia for over three centuries and here, the ageing and blending of most of the world’s supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making.

If your Spain & Portugal wine tour is 10 days only, Porto is the perfect finale for this unique wine trip!  Take advantage of our expertise and let us take you to the very best wine regions and wineries of Spain and Portugal. We will ensure for you the best winery visits and wine tastings with expert in-house guides,  hand selected hotels and you will e able to make the most of your wine tastings as your chauffeur takes the driving strain!

You may like to include other wine regions of Spain and Portugal in your private wine tour, for example the up and coming Vinho Verde in northern Portugal and the rural, quaint and very authentic Alentejo wine region, half way between Andalucia and Lisbon. Just let us know and we can happily custom build your perfect wine tour based on your preferences. If you are looking for an ideal for the best route, have a look at our sample itinerary  Wine Lovers Tour of Spain & Portugal . Contact us for pricing or to start custom building your perfect wine tour of Spain and Portugal!

The green Peñin Guide (to Spanish wine what the red Michelin guide is to food) is now in its 28th edition and is THE definitive guide to Spanish wine.

This year, over 11.500 wines were reviewed for the 2018 Peñín Guide, with just 163 wines being privileged to receive the highest scores and to take their place in the elitist “Podium” category, the most desired level by the winemakers, the famous sanctuary of the chosen few, reserved only for  wines awarded from 95 to 100 points.

All “Podium” wines have been elaborated by experienced wine-makers and there is a tiny group of these privileged who have managed to enter their first year of tasting through the front door.

Here are 10 “Podium” wines that have fully entered into this select group to be able to be known as some of the best wines of Spain.   Ten Moving Spanish Wines for 2018:

 

Benjamín Romeo Colección Nº2: La Canoca 2011 Gran Reserva – 96 points

Cellar: Bodega Contador

Appellation: DOCa. Rioja

Varieties: tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo and graciano

Color: dark cherry, maroon edge.

Aroma: ripe fruit, candied fruit, wood carving, tabacco, sweet spices.

Mouth: spicy, mature tannins, long, elegant, round

 

Canta la Perdiz 2013 Tinto – 95 points

Cellar: Dominio del Águila

Appellation: DO Ribera del Duero

Varieties: 95% tempranillo / 5% otras

Color: cherry.

Aroma: complex, expressive, spicy, mineral, with character, toasted.

Mouth: full, long, persistent, tasty

 

Conde de Aldama Amontillado – 96 points

Cellar: Bodegas Yuste

Appellation: DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

Varieties: 100% palomino

Color: clear mahogany.

Aroma: acetaldehyde, sharp, sweet spices, dried fruits.

Mouth: full, nuances of ageing, spicy, bitter, a little fiery.

 

Pirata 2014 Blanco – 96 points

WINNER of the Guía Peñín “Best Revelation” wine for 2018 read more here

Cellar: Bodega Benjamín Romeo e Ismael Gozalo

Table wine

Varieties: 50% verdejo, 32% garnacha blanca, 12% viura and 6% malvasía

Color:  bright yellow.

Aroma: ripe fruit, floral, fine lees, mineral, complex with character

Mouth: full, complex, spicy, long, elegant.

 

 

Alvear Criadera “A” – 95 points – 5 stars                                                   

Cellar: Alvear

Appellation: DO Montilla-Moriles

Varieties: 100% pedro ximénez

Color: iodine, amber edge.

Aroma: sweet spices, dried fruits, dried herbs, flor yeasts, sharp, acetaldehyde

Mouth: full, spicy, long, complex, good acidity.

 

Casa Castillo Cuvee N Viñas Viejas 2015 – 95 points

Cellar: Casa Castillo

Appellation: DO Jumilla

Varieties: 100% monastrell

Color: cherry

Aroma: complex, expressive, spicy, mineral

Mouth: elegant, full, long, persistent

 

El Velado 2014 – 95 points

Cellar: Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez

Appellation: DOCa. Rioja

Varieties: tempranillo and garnacha

Color: cherry, violet edge

Aroma: fruity expression, red fruit, floral, spiced, sweet spices.

Mouth: tasty, fruity, good acidity, long.

 

Manuel Aragón Premium Palo Cortado – 95 points

Cellar: Manuel Aragón

Appellation: DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

Varieties: palomino

Color: mahogany.

Aroma: complex, fine cacao, sharp, acetaldehyde

Mouth: concentrated, full, long, nuances of ageing.

 

Mons Urium Vors Palo Cortado – 95 points

Cellar: Bodegas Urium

Appellation: DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

Varieties: palomino

Color: clear mahogany

Aroma: acetaldehyde, dried fruits, sweet spices, joinery

Mouth: potent, balanced, persistent, nuances of ageing.

 

Vatán Arena 2014 – 95 points

Cellar: Bodegas Ordoñez

Appellation: DO Toro

Color: cherry

Aroma: complex, expressive, spiced, mineral, fine cacao.

Mouth: full, long, persistent, concentrated, structured.

You may also be interested in our article the TOP 10 SPANISH REVELATION WINES 2018 

Distributed in more than twenty countries – with editions in English, German and Spanish – La Guia Peñín wine guide reviewed some 11,500 wines for the 2018 edition, making it the most complete guide to Spanish wines in existence.

La Guia Penin’s 100-point wine-scoring scale is :

95–100 – Exceptional

90–94 – Excellent

80–89 – Very good

70–79 – Acceptable

60–69 – Unremarkable, but not faulty

50–59 – Not recommended.

Vinyes del celler Clos Figures, DOQ Priorat, darrera, el poble del Lloar, Gratallops, Priorat, Tarragona

Join us on a Private Wine Tour to include some of the great Wine Regions of Spain like our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain of Portugal to explore the Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

In October, every year, the Peñin Guide stages the much anticipated El Salón de los Mejores Vinos de España (Salon of the Best Wines in Spain)  in Madrid.  Last year was the 18th edition and over 300 wineries with 1,300 wines from sixty-eight Spanish wine producing regions were united. The wines are divided into categories by points: Vinos del Podio/Podium Wines (95 to 100 points), Vinos Únicos/Unique Wines (93 and 94 points) and Vinos Excelentes/Excellent Wines (90 to 92 points).  This year, organic wines, which have been on the rise in recent years, were also integrated into the selection for the very first time.

One of the most anticipated events every year is the naming of the Guía Peñín “Best Revelation” wine.

A revelation wine is considered as such as it has somehow imposes a change, either in the conception of the variety, the vintage or the processing. It often creates a new category in the market or even dislocates the philosophy of the region somehow. In already consolidated producing areas a revelation wine may have revealed itself through its excellent quality, where to excel in its first appearance in the guide is much more complicated and exceptional.

Whichever road a wine takes to be considered a revelation wine what they all have in common is quality, balance and their native representativeness. What’s more a revelation wine will always awake an interest and provoke surprise in the official Peñín Guide tasters.

 

WINNER of the Guía Peñín “Best Revelation” wine for 2018: PIRATA 2014

Pirata 2014 is the product of a collaboration between two well-known enologists in the Spanish wine world, Benjamín Romeo (Bodega Contador) and Ismael Gozalo (MicroBio Wines and the co-creator of Ossian).

Benjamín and Ismael join their knowledge and experience to bottle together the La Rioja and Castilian Leon landscapes and the product? Pirata 2014.  Ismael contributes 50% of prefloxeric verdejo from sandy soils with clay accumulated from different soils while Benjamín contributes the other 50% through a blend of three native La Rioja varieties: white grenache, viura and malvasia from common clay-calcareous soils.

Pirata 2014 is an exceptional white wine of a curious blend of coupage, grapes, soils and climates and with less than a thousand bottles being produced in magnum format it is both a revelation and a rarity.

The TOP 10 Spanish wines to watch:

Here are all ten nominees considered for the Guía Peñín “Best Revelation” wines for 2018 with their corresponding Peñín Guide points. Wines to watch, if you will, representing a wide range of styles and Spanish wine producing regions:

 

  • A Coroa 200 Cestos 2015 (D.O. Valdeorras) from Adega A Coroa – 93 points

 

  • Amador Medrano Graciano 2016 (D.O.Ca. Rioja) from Bodegas Medrano Irazu – 93 points

 

  • El Buen Alfarero 2016 (D.O. Ribera del Duero) from Bodegas Pradorey – 93 points

 

  • Eulogio Pomares 2015 (D.O. Rías Baixas) from Fento Wines – 93 points

 

  • Fondillón 1996 Fondillón GR (D.O. Alicante) from Bodegas Monóvar – 94 points

 

  • La Pujada 2014 (D.O.Ca. Priorat) from Saó del Coster – 93 points

 

  • Pirata 2014 (Vino de Mesa) from Benjamín Romeo and Ismael Gozalo – 96 points

 

  • Telm Colet 2006 Barrica (D.O. Penedès) from Colet – 93 points

 

  • UBE Carrascal 2015 (V.T. Cádiz) from Cota 45 – 93 points

 

  • VO “Cal” 2015 (D.O. Bierzo) from Verónica Ortega – 92 points

 

 

Join us on a Private Wine Tour to include some of the great Wine Regions of Spain like our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain of Portugal to explore the Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

Located in the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain, as the name implies, the site of this winery, Terra Remota (Remote Land)  is isolated and secluded, feeling even more so since the devastating fires that destroyed much of this region recently- leaving a path of charcoaled lifelessness in its wake.

DSC04526
Thankfully Terra Remota, in the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain, was, for the most part, unharmed with only a small plot of vines damaged but learning more about the history behind the Spanish winery it is terrifying to think not only about the possible destruction of the building but also of everything it stands for.

The land here, in the Emporda Wine Region, symbolizes more than just wine production, for the family it stands for identity.  Terra Remota winery is owned by Marc and Emma Bournazeau.  Emma’s grandfather was a man from Catalonia that, after the Spanish Civil war, escaped to France to live in Perpignan. For the family, Terra Remota represents a return from exile and to the land of origin, reclaiming the lost identity of a family.

Terra Remota Winery

The first thing you notice when driving up to Terra Remota is the extraordinary raw concrete “bodega”, which is designed by the Spanish architects Pépe Cortés & Nacho Ferrer and is made up of “Three shoeboxes” nestled into the hillside with the intention of integrating the building into the surrounding landscape- respect for the natural environment is a reoccurring theme here at Terra Remota. The three levels of the structure reflect the three stages the grapes go through from sorting at the top level to bottling, ageing and tasting on the bottom floor, respecting the principle of gravity.

Terra Remota Winery

Every process inside this building is designed to treat the grapes with utmost respect and care.  The key principle at this winery is to avoid excessive manipulation of the original quality of the grape- convinced that the better the raw material the less need for interference.

The idea is that each wine is different and must be treated as such.   The wines “Caminante”, (white) “Caminito” (rosé) and  “Camino” (red), named in homage to Machado’s poem, are the product of respect, and perseverance from the team.

Emporda Wines

Many of guests have thoroughly enjoyed a visit and relaxing picnic in the vineyards at this great Emporda winery!  Join us on a Private Food, Wine and Culinary Tour including the Emporda DO Wine Region of Spain and you too could be visiting this wonderful winery for a private tour and exclusive wine tasting!

Our Gourmand Breaks DO the Vineyards series is covering some of the great Wine Regions of Spain: Ribera del Duero, Priorat, La Rioja …… and now the Jerez Spanish Wine D.O. Region.  Located in the autonomous community of Andalucia the Jerez Wine D.O region produces world-renowned sherry.

Quality Spanish wines are classified, using a system called the “Denominación de Origen” or “D.O.”, which in English translates as “designated origin”, to determine where they were produced. Spanish wine laws first created the “D.O.” system in 1932 and each “denominación” D.O. has its corresponding regional regulatory council or “Consejo Regulador”.

The Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region is based around the three Spanish towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. All Spanish sherry producers source their grapes from the bright, chalky ‘albariza’ soils of Jerez.   The main sherry grape in the Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region, Palomino, thrives in the vineyards here alongside the other two key grapes – Pedro Ximénez, which makes a rich, black, raisiny wine for blending and treacle-like dessert wines and Moscatel which makes a lighter dessert wine.

Before the phylloxera infestation in 1894, there were over an estimated 100 grape varieties used to make Sherry in Spain but now there are only three white grapes grown for Sherry-making:

  • Palomino: the dominant grape used for the dry sherries. Approximately 90 per cent of the grapes grown for Sherry are Palomino.
  • Pedro Ximénez: used to produce sweet wines. When harvested these grapes are typically dried in the sun for two days to concentrate their sugars.
  • Moscatel: used similarly to Pedro Ximénez, but it is less common.

Jerez Palomino grape

Spanish Sherry wines in the Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region mature in large 500 litre barrels made of oak, which are arranged in three row high ‘soleras’. The young wines are poured into the top row and wine is then transferred downwards enabling the fresher wines to blend with those of more maturity and a consistent style for each bodega year after year.

The wines in the Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region fall into three broad categories: Very dry Manzanillas and Finos to  richer amber and mahogany coloured Amontillados, Olorosos and the rare Palo Cortado style. Sweeter sherries include pale cream, medium and cream. Finally there are natural sweet sherries which are made from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes. The alcoholic strength of sherries ranges from 15.5˚ for the lightest styles (Manzanilla and Fino) to 22˚ for sweeter wines.

In the Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region there is a long association with the UK,  where sherry has been enjoyed for over 400 years, indeed many names of the original English, Scottish or Irish sherry shippers can still be seen in the industry today.

Jerez Spanish Wine DO Region principal  Grape Varieties:  Palomino, Pedro Ximenez, Moscatel.

If you love Wine you can’t miss the Wine Regions of Spain!

Join us on a Private Wine Tour of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic Spanish Wine Regions and wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

Just some of the great wineries you may be visiting in the Jerez Wine Region of Spain:

Lustau – boutique sherry winery, 15 min walk from the station, In 2013 they won the Best Sherry of the World Award in IWSP International Wine and Spirit Competition.

The House of Sandeman Jerez – Sandeman’s Sherry Visitor Centre is in a perfect location, close to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in the heart of the city of Jerez de la Frontera, in the south of Spain.

Gonzalez Byass Winery – The Gonzalez Byass collection of Vintage Sherries are amongst the rarest wines in he world. The founder was mentored by his uncle, who was affectionately known as Pepe, and what is now the world’s best-selling Fino was named after him – Tio Pepe (“tio” being Spanish for uncle).

 

More of our Gourmand Breaks DO the Wine Regions of Spain series:

Wine from the Spanish Priorat region is not only the most highly regarded in Catalonia—it is some of the best in the world. That is why it has been granted its elite label of D.O.Q., or Qualified Destination of Origin.

Priorat Stamp

Quality Spanish wines are classified using a system based on the “Denominación de Origen” or “DO”, designated origin, which determines where each wine has been produced. Spanish wine laws created the “DO” system in 1932 and it was later revised in 1970. In addition to the “DO” system in Spain there is also the Denominación de Origen Calificada “DOCa” or “DOQ” in Catalan, a status for DOs that have a consistent track record for quality. There are currently only two DOCa/DOQ regions in Spain: Rioja and Priorat.

Perhaps what gives the wine in the Priorat Wine Region of Spain its famous and unique personality are all the extremes in both its climate and beautiful geography. In addition to sharp temperature fluctuations between night and day, this slate-soiled land is full of majestic cliffs and steep hillsides where terraces sometimes have to be built to grow parts of vineyards.

The most planted grape varieties in the Priorat Wine Region of Spain are red ones, with Carinyena (Carignan) and Garnatxa (Grenache) being the most important and recommended native varieties.

The permitted grape varieties of the DOQ Priorat Wine Region of Spain are the following:

  • Red Priorat Grape Varieties: Grenache, Carignan, Hairy Grenache, Tempranillo, Piquepoul, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah.
  • White Priorat Grape Varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximinez, Chenin Blanc, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Xarello, Piquepoul

 

Carignan grapes

Part of the Priorat region overlaps with another highly esteemed region, the Montsant DO, where the Capçanes cellers produce kosher wines in accordance with Jewish tradition in addition to other high quality wines.

Montsant Wine Region of Spain Grape Varieties:

  • Red Montsant Grape Varieties: Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Samsó, Mazuela, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Peluda, Merlot, Monastrell, Picapoll  and Syrah
  • White Montsant Grape Varieties: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Muscat, Parellada, Pansal

Among the most interesting spots in the region is where the Carthusian Priory (or Priorat) of Scala Dei founded its first monastery on the Iberian Peninsula in the 12th century. This site, situated at the foot of the Montsant mountain range, is where the region’s winemaking tradition originated. The society thrived there until 1835 when the church shut the monastery operations down, but the ruins can still be toured through alongside vineyards that are stronger than ever before.

In 1900 an outbreak of phylloxera devastated the region’s vineyards and, as the textile industry was taking off in Catalonia, entire work forces fled to the city to work.  New vines were therefore not planted again, except on a small scale, which fortunately, is what remains today.

Some twenty odd years ago, the Priorat region was on the verge of extinction, with grape prices so low that this was one of Spain’s most impoverished regions. It took a few visionaries to realise Priorat’s potential and most people agree that René Barbier initiated the Priorat revival. In the 1980s he established a co-operative that put its first wine on the market in 1991 and the rest, as they say, is history.

While refining your palate, you may also want to note this region’s production of world-class olive oils, which are also classified into DOs. One of the best olive oils comes from the Priorat town of Siurana, which is set upon a mountain rounded with austere cliffs. As the last Moorish stronghold in Catalonia, this town also comes with its own set of intriguing historical legends.

Priorat wines

 

If you love Wine you can’t miss the Wine Regions of Spain!

Join us on a Private Wine Tour of Spain like our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain and Portugal to explore the Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

Some of the wineries you might visit in the Priorat DOQ Wine Region of Spain are:
  • Clos Mogador
  • Costers del Siurana
  • Gratavinum Spanish Winery
  • Mas Blanc Pinord
  • Mas Doix Spanish Winery

 

More of our Gourmand Breaks DO the Wine Regions of Spain:

Our Gourmand Breaks DO the Vineyards series is covering some of the great Wine Regions of Spain.

First, and in no particular order, we presented the excellent Ribera del Duero Spanish Wine D.O. Region and now it’s the turn of the young and up and coming Bierzo Spanish Wine D.O. Region.  Located in the autonomous community of Castile and León some exciting Spanish Wines are being produced in the Bierzo DO Wine Region of Spain with the principle Red Grape Variety being Mencía. Do Bierzo

Quality Spanish wines are classified, using a system called the “Denominación de Origen” or “D.O.”, which in English translates as “designated origin”, to determine where they were produced. Spanish wine laws first created the “D.O.” system in 1932 and each “denominación” D.O. has its corresponding regional regulatory council or “Consejo Regulador”.  The Bierzo Denominación de Origen (D.O.) was recognized in 1989.

The young, up and coming, Spanish Wine DO Region of Bierzo, is tucked away in the north western corner of Castile and León, somewhat removed from the main hub of the Duero Valley but still attracts a great deal of interest.

Mencia grapes

 Thanks to the impressive wine making skills of both local Bierzo winemakers and those from other Spanish wine DO regions that have recognized its potential here, Bierzo DO Region red wines, made from the Mencia grape, are developing into something quite exciting. The Mencia vine is comfortable in Bierzo’s Wine DO Region mild climate and slate soils which combine to produce a wine which is more structured than the light, fruity reds of Galicia but leaner than the powerful styles of the Duero. They have a character of their own which brings a welcome diversity to Spanish red wines with their dark chocolate and black fruit flavors which are enhanced by French oak.

The climate and wines of the Bierzo Wine Region of Spain  could be described as a mix between Galicia and Castille.

The Bierzo DO Wine region of Spain covers 22 municipalities, including the largest town of the area, Ponferrada, and an attractive mix of castles, vineyards, pine forests and delightful mountain scenery. The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part called Alto Bierzo and a wide, flat plain called Bajo Bierzo. The focal point for wine is the market town of Cacabelos, a popular place for pilgrims to rest along the Camino de Santiago.

Bierzo wines
Bierzo DO wines must be elaborated exclusively with the following varieties: Mencía, Garnacha Tintorera, Godello, Doña Blanca and Palomino.

If you love Wine you can’t miss the Wine Regions of Spain!

Join us on a Private Wine Tour of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic Spanish Wine Regions and wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

 

Some Top Bierzo DO winemakers include:

  • Descendientes de J. Palacios –  Villafranca del Bierzo Alvaro Palacios, credited with putting the Priorat Wine region of Spain on the map in the 1990s, along with his nephew Ricardo Pérez, pay respect to their subsequent father and grandfather with this fantastic Bierzo DO Winery. They have completely restored the old stone bodega although their first priorities are the vineyards. Las Lamas, La Faraona and Moncerbal are not only the names of 3 great Bierzo DO Wines but also the vineyards that give the Wine it’s independent and particular character.
  • Dominio Tares – San Román de Bembibre A collective venture uniting various young oenologists with a healthy obsession for old mencia and godello vines to produce the interesting wines of Godello F.B, Baltos, Cepas Viejas, Bembibre and Tares P-3.
  • Prada a Tope – Canedo In the 18th century, the nobility of Canedo had their own vineyards and a cellar storing over 32,000 liters of good wine. Prada A Tope continues with this tradition and recovered the abandoned land and hillsides. Their respect for the land combined with ecological and traditional methods produce authentic wines.
  • Pittacum – Arganza del Bierzo The Terras Gauda Group  acquired Bodegas Pittacum  in 2002 with a clear idea of making quality wines with a mencia marked personality. Quality red wines are produced from the grapes of an ancient vineyard where they are later aged in oak barrels.
  • Paixar – Cacabelos A joint venture between Alejandro Luna, owner of the Luna Beberide winery and Eduardo and Alberto Garcia, sons of Mariano Garcia, one of Spain’s top winemakers – ex winemaker of Vega Sicilia in the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain and founder of the Mauro winery. These young wine-makers focus on the production of a unique expression of Mencia, using Luna Beberide for vinification and a conditioned subterranean bodega in a Palace-house in Villafranca del Bierzo for ageing.
  • Castro Ventoso – Valtuille de Abajo Founded in 1752 by the Perz Family and family-owned ever since. They produce five different Mencía wines; Valtuille, El Castro de Valtuille, El Castro de Valtuille “Joven Mencia”, El Castro de Valtuille “Mencia Selección” and Castro Ventosa Vintage. Their trademark Valtuille wine is made from five plots with pre-phyloxeric vineyards that are located on the only sandy soil found in Bierzo.
  • Bodega del Abad – Carracedelo Inaugurated in June 2003, Bodega del Abad offers modern facilities and technological innovations for the elaboration of its wines, which allow a thorough quality control of the whole process from start to end. Their 100% grape variety wines are represented by the Vinos Abad Dom Bueno range and the Gotín del Risc range, both using 100% Mencia or Godello and the singular Carracedo  – 100% Mencia.

 

More of our Gourmand Breaks DO the Wine Regions of Spain:

Our Gourmand Breaks DO the Vineyards series is covering some of the great Wine Regions of Spain. First off is the Ribera del Duero Spanish Wine D.O. Region which is located in the autonomous community of Castile and León. The principle Red Grape Variety of the Ribera del Duero DO Wine Region of Spain is Tempranillo which produces some fine Spanish Wine.

Quality Spanish wines are classified, using a system called the “Denominación de Origen” or “D.O.”, which in English translates as “designated origin”, to determine where they were produced. Spanish wine laws first created the “D.O.” system in 1932 and each “denominación” D.O. has its corresponding regional regulatory council or “Consejo Regulador”. The Ribera del Duero Denominación de Origen (D.O.) was founded in 1982.

Ribera del Duero Spanish Wine DO region has seen significant replanting since the late 80s and nowadays a modern and very professional approach has been taken to vineyard management and harvesting, which was vital to achieve quality in view of the challenges caused by spring frost, hail and autumn rains.  Substantial investment in upgrading or the apparition of completely new bodegas has also taken place at a fast pace since the Spanish DO of Ribera del Duero was established.

The Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain is characterized by a largely flat, rocky terrain, centered on the town of Aranda de Duero. The vineyards of Ribera del Duero Spanish DO Wine Region are sited to the north and south of the River Duero which runs from east to west though its centre with the most famous vineyards surrounding Peñafiel (featuring a castle where there is a very interesting wine museum) and Roa de Duero to the west.

Ribera del Duero Spanish Wine DO Region was the first to open up the red wine making potential of the DueroValley.  It has significantly grown to rival Rioja in terms of prestige and reputation and provides a welcome diversity at the top end of the quality Spanish wine spectrum.

tempranillo grapes

The success of Ribera del Duero Spanish wines is due to the Tempranillo grape, which is used almost exclusively by producers to make reds with various ageing credentials and rosés.   The main focus in the region is however, oak aged wines of a very high caliber which are capable of many years of ageing.

A significant factor where quality is concerned is the high altitude of the vineyards – most of them are located at 750-800 metres above sea level. There is therefore, a wide variation in temperature especially during the summer, when it is not unusual to reach 35˚C during the day and as low as 12˚C at night during August which encourages the vines to rest and favors grapes with lively acidity and concentration.

Special mention should also be made to the fact that the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain was awarded Best Wine Region of the World, in 2012, by ‘Wine Enthusiast Magazine’.

If you love Wine you can’t miss the Wine Regions of Spain!

Join us on a Private Wine Tour like our Essentially Wine – Spain and France to explore the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain as well as the La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and Bordeaux Wine Region of France to enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great wines.

Just some of the wineries you might visit in the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain are:
  • Abadia Retuerta 
  • Bodegas Ismael Arroyo 
  • La Pesquera
  • Emilio Moro
  • Protos

 

More of our Gourmand Breaks DO the Wine Regions of Spain:

Spain’s wine history dates back to pre-Roman times, but it is only over the past few decades that the quality of Spanish Wine has significantly improved throughout the whole country and led to Spanish Wine being exported, sought after and enjoyed all over the World.  Wine is BIG in Spain and vines are cultivated all over the country!

Wine Regions of Spain

Thanks to http://www.beaconwinecompany.com/ for the great map

Spain is a vast country with differing climates and soils and all of the autonomous communities of Spain produce wine with their own grape varieties, Regulatory Councils and specific types. Due to the expanse of the land – Spain has around 3 million acres of vines planted – climates and types of grapes, there are numerous Wine Regions in Spain resulting in a fantastic variety of Spanish Wine. The best-known Spanish wines, however, are Cava, Rioja, and Sherry which are three very different wines made in three very different wine regions.

Quality Spanish wines are classified using a system based on the “Denominación de Origen” or “DO”, designated origin, which determines where each wine has been produced. Spanish wine laws created the “DO” system in 1932 and it was later revised in 1970. The “DO” system is similar to the Appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” system of France, the Denominação de Origem Controlada “DOC” of Portugal and the Denominazione di origine controllata “DOC” of Italy.

priorat wine day tour

In addition to the “DO” system in Spain there is also the Denominación de Origen Calificada “DOCa” or “DOQ” in Catalan, a status for DOs that have a consistent track record for quality. There are currently only two DOCa/DOQ regions in Spain: Rioja and Priorat.

In 2009, there were 79 Quality DO Wine regions across Spain, but undoubtedly, the most well-known Spanish DO Wine Region, especially for its red wine, is La Rioja – also a DOCa/DOQ Wine Region of Spain. There are, however, many other Spanish wine regions that produce high quality red wines, like Ribera del Duero or the other DOCa/DOQ wine region of Priorat.

Although the known type of Spanish wine is red wine, Spain also produces high quality white wines, especially in Galicia, Cava and Jerez (sherry) which is produced in the south, near Jerez in Andalusia.

Over the coming months we’ll be showcasing some of the DO Wine Regions of Spain in our “Gourmand Breaks DO the Vineyards – Wine Regions of Spain” series like:

 

If you love Wine you can’t miss Spain!

Join us on a Private Wine Tour of Spain like our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain and Portugal to explore the Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and enjoy expert  guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.

Penedès is one the richest wine regions of Spain and is primarily known for its wines and cavas.  Although small, this Spanish wine region is full of surprises, and  even though the key elements that have molded the Penedès area are Grapes and Wine, the character of the region is also shaped by its history, nature, gastronomy and it’s dynamic people.

Penedes Wine Country, Spain

The Penedès scenery is full of vineyards, bodegas, quaint Catalan masia farmhouses and small villages and towns with a great history.  One of our favorite Penedès villages is Sant Martí Sarroca, an ancient settlement.  This lovely Penedès village, with its tiny houses and cobbled streets huddled around a great rock, offers uninterrupted views of the Penedès vineyards with the Montserrat mountains as a backdrop.  Apart from the magnificent views, an atmospheric 10th Century castle and the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria stand proudly at the top of the hill. There are some small restaurants in the village where you can enjoy a good local lunch accompanied by good Penedès wine and, of course, the fantastic views.

Sant Martí Sarroca, Penedes

The Penedès locals are open and friendly with a  love of showing off their land.  There are not many Penedès residents who cannot identify which grape is on the vine or prepare the correct glasses for wine-tasting. They know the wineries like their own families and are always delighted to give you insider tips on what’s hot in the Penedès air at the moment.

There are over 150 bodegas in the Penedès wine region of Spain producing a diversity of wines.  The trained vines of the Penedès vineyards enable the grapes to have more exposure to the sun which enables them to ripen better.  The Montserrat mountains protect the Penedès from the North Winds, so with the Mediterranean climate, warm soft temperatures and little rain, it is the perfect place for the Chardonnay, Macabeu, Xarel.lo, Cabernet and Merlot grapes to grow, among many others.

The Penedès area is a big producer of White Wine, a good part of this being cava, as in the 20th century the revolution for Catalan sparkling wine  changed the way of everyday life and habits here in Penedès wine country. Today, the traditional white wines are light, aromatic and happy, with the local variety of Xarel.lo adding personality to the wine, and the sparklers and rosés are fragrant and persistent with an intense aroma.

Even though the white grape varieties dominate in Penedès, a host of well-made red wines are now notably on the rise in production and defend their place with a balanced, silky and aromatic body.  However, in the category of reds, Penedès have yet to catch up with their illustrious neighbor Priorat.

With the multitude of wine cellars, either famous mass marketers or discreet  local sellers, Penedès is a great region to learn of traditional wine-making methods along with new technologies, organic practices and innovative ideas. Proud of their world class wines, many bodegas in Penedès open their doors and invite you to tour their premises to view their beloved vineyards and vast cellars, and, of course, to taste their craved results.

Early Spring in Penedès sees the vines ooze with sap, which is a sure sign that new shoots are ready to grow.  In Spring and Summer the vines are alive with green leaves.  Harvesting will occur in late summer and in early Winter the pruning will begin.

 

Discover this great Spanish wine region of Penedès while on one of our private wine tours. Our fantastic  Luxury Grand Wine Tour of Spain and France  includes not only the Penedès Wine Region of Spain, but also the wine regions of Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Bordeaux (France),  Emporda and Priorat as well as the cities of Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona.