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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!

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Spain, Portugal and SW France are three great Wine Producing Countries and home to some of the most famous names in the wine-making world. Big, complex wines with character, style and quality are just waiting to be tasted in Bordeaux, La Rioja, Priorat, Penedes, Ribera del Duero, Alentejo, Douro Valley

… and you can visit some (or all) of these fantastic wine regions of Spain, Portugal and SW France on a Private Luxury Wine Tour like our Wine Lovers Tour of Portugal, Spain & France

Spain, Portugal and SW France are just the ticket to visit top wine estates and meet vineyard owners and in-house experts who lovingly show you into their world – a big world at that!

Spain has many Wine Appellations known as “DO’s”, Denominaciones de Origen, but just two of them have been distinguished as “qualified”, meaning that their quality standards are a bit higher than the rest: DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada) Rioja and DOQ (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada) Priorat. Aging is a very important aspect of Spanish wines so Spain has an aging classification system as well, meaning you will find Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva on the label too.

Portugal is divided into 14 Regional Wine areas: Vinho Verde, Trás-os-Montes, Porto and Douro, Távora-Varosa, Bairrada, Dão, Beira Interior, Lisboa, Tejo, Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Algarve, Açores and Madeira. Portuguese wine is categorized using the ‘DOC’ (Denominação de Origem Controlada) system meaning Controlled Denomination of Origin. In the Douro there are separate DOCs for unfortified wine and for Port, although geographically they both lie within the same boundaries.

In France the appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” meaning “controlled designation of origin” sets the rules and today there are hundreds of AOC’s. In France there is a further classification system, existing mostly for Burgundy and Bordeaux, in which the quality of their AOC wines is further rated. In Bordeaux this is the Cru, also referred to as ‘growths’ of which there are five levels, attached to particular chateaux.

So you see there’s a lot going on behind that bottle of wine on your table, standards to adhere to and rules to follow.

Discover some of the best wine regions in Spain, Portugal and/or France on a Private Wine tour designed just for you – the wine enthusiast – and sip fine wine in the Mediterranean breeze, along the left bank of the Gironde or visit the vineyards and cellars of century’s old family owned wineries!

From Crasto Winery Barrels

Cheers to Missouri Wines for this great explanation for Understanding and Identifying Wine Aromas:

Put your new found wine knowledge to the test on one of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours in Spain and/or Portugal. Visit top class wineries in great Spanish and Portuguese Wine Regions such as La Rioja, Priorat, Penedes or Emporda in Spain and Douro Valley or Alentejo in Portugal.

North American Wine specialist magazine “Wine Spectator “ has included 8 Spanish Wines in their annual Top 100 Wines of the World List for 2014.

Wine Regions of Spain included in the Top 100 list include La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Bierzo, Castilla La Mancha and a fortified wine from Andalusia:

  • Viña Ardanza Reserva 2005 (34th place)
  • Abadía Retuerta Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León Sardon de Duero Selección Especial 2010 (50th place)
  • Viña Cumbrero Crianza 2010 (62nd place)
  • Cune Monopole Blanco 2014 (64th place)
  • Godelia Mencía 2010 (68th place)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Dominio de Valdepusa 2010 (79th place)
  • Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2005 (84th place)
  • Antonio Barbadillo Manzanilla Sanlúcar (95th place)

 

Since 1988, each year, Wine Spectator magazine editors study the wines that have been reviewed over the previous 12 months and select their Top 100 Wines of the World list. This year, 8 Spanish Wines are included in the list. All the wines are classified on a scale from 85 to 100 points (pts) based on quality, value, availability and excitement. This annual list acknowledges successful wineries, wine regions and vintages from all around the world.

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 Wine.

TOP 100 WINES FULL LIST :

Here’s the complete Top 100 Wines of the World list, 2014, according to Wine Spectator Magazine, with their corresponding punctuation (Pts). The 8 Spanish Wines selected feature in bold text:

#WineVtgePts
1Dow’s Vintage Port201199
2Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love201295
3Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia201197
4Quinta do Vale Meão Douro201197
5Leeuwin Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series201196
6Castello di Ama Chianti Classico San Lorenzo Gran Selezione201095
7Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape201297
8Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills201294
9Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor201095
10Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien201195
11Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains201195
12Château Guiraud Sauternes201197
13Fonseca Vintage Port201198
14Fontodi Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello201195
15Bedrock The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley201295
16Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella’s Garden201295
17Soter Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Mineral Springs Ranch201295
18Château Doisy-Védrines Barsac201195
19Luca Malbec Uco Valley201293
20Peter Michael Chardonnay Knights Valley Ma Belle-Fille201295
21Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva201093
22Podere Sapaio Bolgheri Volpolo201193
23St.-Cosme Châteauneuf-du-Pape201096
24Massolino Barolo200995
25Bodegas y Viñedos O. Fournier Malbec Uco Valley Alfa Crux201094
26Emeritus Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Hallberg Ranch201193
27Quinta do Portal Douro Colheita201192
28Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape201194
29Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley201293
30DuMOL Syrah Russian River Valley201294
31Tommasi Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo201192
32Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 55% Slope200993
33Orin Swift Machete California201293
34La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva 200592
35Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley201192
36Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard200997
37Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco Rabajà201094
38Aubert Chardonnay Russian River Valley Eastside201295
39Oddero Barolo201093
40Loosen Bros. Riesling QbA Mosel Dr. L201291
41Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros201292
42Lapostolle Clos Apalta Limited Release Colchagua Valley201094
43Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen201391
44Viña Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère Colchagua Valley201191
45Tikal Patriota Mendoza201291
46Turley Zinfandel California Juvenile201291
47Luce della Vite Toscana Luce201195
48Fincas Patagonicas Malbec Mendoza Zolo Reserve201291
49Trimbach Riesling Alsace201291
50Abadia Retuerta Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León Sardon de Duero Selección Especial  201092
51Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate201097
52Herman Story Grenache California On the Road201193
53Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Tavola201291
54Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley PrestigeNV91
55Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley El Caballero201190
56João Portugal Ramos Alentejo Ramos Reserva201290
57Viña Bisquertt Syrah Colchagua Valley La Joya Gran Reserva201290
58TwentyFour Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley201093
59Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Barossa201190
60St.-Urbans-Hof Riesling QbA Mosel Old Vines201290
61De Martino Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Legado Reserva201192
62Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Viña Cumbrero Crianza  201090
63Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc Constantia Bayten201390
64Cune Rioja White Monopole  201390
65Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore201196
66Fowles Shiraz Victoria Are You Game?201291
67Tohu Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Single Vineyard201390
68Godelia Mencía Bierzo  201092
69Feudo di Santa Croce Primitivo di Manduria LXXIV201091
70D. Kourtakis Assyrtiko Santorini Greek Wine Cellars201290
71Roar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard201293
72Château Lilian Ladouys St.-Estèphe201190
73Gérard Bertrand Syrah-Grenache Languedoc201190
74di Majo Norante Molise Ramitello201190
75Disznókó´ Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos200694
76Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne201290
77E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d’Ampuis201097
78Acrobat Pinot Noir Oregon201290
79Marqués de Griñon Cabernet Sauvignon Dominio de Valdepusa  201093
80Nino Negri Valtellina Superiore Quadrio201090
81Domaine de Triennes Vin de Pays du Var St.-Auguste201090
82Mulderbosch Faithful Hound Stellenbosch201191
83Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford201390
84Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial  200594
85Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Marina Cveti S. Martino Rosso201091
86Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County Huntington201290
87Firriato Sicilia Santagostino Baglio Soria Red201191
88Christian Moreau Père & Fils Chablis201291
89Carol Shelton Zinfandel Mendocino County Wild Thing Old Vine201190
90Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Trocken Wachau Terrassen201290
91Domaine La Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pure201295
92Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Incanto201090
93Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee201290
94Château Lamartine Cahors201190
95Antonio Barbadillo Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda Solear  NV90
96Domaine Gerovassiliou Epanomi White201390
97Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna201290
98Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier Victoria201290
99Loimer Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kamptal201291
100Saint Clair Pinot Noir Marlborough Pioneer Block 16 Awatere201292

grape harvest and stomping tour in Spain

Grape stomping fun:  Kick off your shoes and get ready for an unforgettable experience

The idyllic perception of a winery visit is a tour of a vineyard followed by a tasting of their respective wines.  Everyone knows this; so, at Gourmand Breaks as we are always on the lookout for a bit of extra special, we added some hands on action and some good food and “voila” a Harvest, Stomping Winery Day was born – enjoy this innovative experience in early Fall on one of our Private Wine Tours

What is it?  

Grape-stomping, also known as pigeage, a French winemaking term for the traditional stomping of the grapes, is part of a method of maceration used in traditional winemaking.  Rather than using a wine press or other mechanized method, grapes are crushed by foot in opPurple feeten vats to release their juices and begin fermentation.  However, to make certain types of wine, grapes are put through a crusher and then poured into open fermentation tanks.
Once fermentation begins, the grape skins are pushed to the surface by carbon dioxide gases released in the fermentation process.  The grapes and stems are mashed together, releasing not only the juice from the grapes, but also the phenols and tannins that provide color and acidity. This layer of skins and other solids is known as the cap. As the skins are the source of the tannins, the cap needs to be mixed through the liquid each day, or “punched,” which traditionally is done by stomping through the vat.  Pigeage, literally means “punching down the cap,” and describes the pushing down of the grape skins that float to the surface of the fermentation vats, forming the “cap.”

A little bit of history:

Grape stomping probably goes back to the very beginnings of winemaking.  Historical evidence shows that grapes were stomped at least as far back as Rome in 200 BC. One of the earliest existing visual representations of the practice appears on a Roman sarcophagus which depicts a group of demigods harvesting and stomping grapes at a rural Roman festival.

For centuries grapes were picked by hand and grape stomping was the universal method used to extract the juice to make wine. In America, most grape stomping by human feet was legislated out of existence by the end of the twentieth century, the concern for public health outweighing tradition. Most other countries eventually banned grape stomping too, but there are still places where you can stomp grapes.

What you can expect: A day in pictures

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Fantastic vineyard settings provide the perfect setting for a private harvesting and stomping tour

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Harvesting the grapes.
The berry bunches grow at the bottom of the vine, dry ones are discarded and green ones are left to ripen

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As the harvester transfers overflowing buckets into the vat, the next step is the stomp

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A hop, a skip or a jump…….a stomping we will go.

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Everything from the vat gets transferred into the Wine Press

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The lower the the press churns the more liquid flows

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The grape juice then transfers into the fermentation tanks where it will continue on its journey to become wine

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Depending on the intention of the winemaker the wine may be fermented in oak barrels

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After an exciting day at the vineyard and after gaining a deeper understanding of the process now a chance to sit back and truly appreciate an example of the finished products. Cheers!

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A group of ladies who recently enjoyed one of our stomptastic private harvest tours

 

For more information on this or any of our private wine tours please do not hesitate to contact us !

This innovative experience can be included in our longer private tours such as the Wine Connoisseur Tour of Spain or The Best of Spain & France Grand Private Wine Tour

Please note that grape harvesting, and subsequently stomping, is only available during the appropriate grape harvesting season of each vineyard.  In Spain the focus will be in the months of September/October.