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SPAIN & PORTUGAL

Wine Lovers Tour of Spain & Portugal

Luxury Food, Wine & Cultural Tour

Description

Spain's leading wine regions mixed with the Portuguese Douro Valley and Porto A unique opportunity to tour Spain's leading wine regions of Penedes, Priorat, La Rioja, Ribera del Duero plus continuing on to the gorgeous Douro Valley and historic Porto in Portugal for a taste of delicious Port! This luxury private tour features hand selected hotels and the very best wineries with private guided tours and some of the best wines of Spain and Portugal. Make the most of the top wines as your chauffeur takes the driving strain!

DAY 1 PENEDES

On this, the first day of your Luxury Private Wine Tour in Spain & Portugal, our Chauffeur will be waiting for you at your Barcelona hotel/cruise port/airport and will whisk you away to the beautiful Penedes Wine Region.

The Penedes wine region is famed as Cava Country so you will first be heading to the epicenter of the cava region and to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia where you will enjoy a private guided tour to a high end boutique cava winery. You will have a complete tour of the installations and facilities of a winery with over 125 years of history of making fine wines and cavas. They love to share their enthusiasm and talk about what they do so you will surely delight as they let the sensations of their products enchant you.

Your wine adventure continues in the Penedes Wine Region with an unforgettable tour of an exceptional Vineyard, owned by one family since 1790 and situated in the heart of the Penedes wine region. A bilingual in-house expert will take you on a private tour of the vineyards, which have been ecologically cultivated for more than 300 years. It is no wonder their wines have been officially certified as ecological-organic since 2004. You will be amazed at how the "intervention" of bees, sheep, and lunar phases can help create outstanding wines. The grapes in this vineyard are all hand picked to ensure harvest at the ideal time for each vine. Back at the cellar, the in-house oenologist will show you the entire wine making process and finally guide you through your complete tasting of an array of ecological and organic varieties of wines and cavas. Additionally, the vineyard owners make their own olive oil, and they will gladly explain to you the process and properties of this "liquid gold" and will invite you for a tasting, accompanied by local sausages, bread and cheese.

Your private driver will then transfer you to your charming family run boutique hotel located in the heart of Priorat Wine Country. It is an 18th century restored house with pleasant views of the vineyards, the ideal place to get to know and understand the region as there are many world-class wineries nearby. Your stylish and spacious suite is of contemporary decor but maintains original features of the old house.

You will be dining this evening at your hotel where the Mediterranean cuisine is based on locally sourced quality products and simple authentic dishes. Your delicious dinner will, of course, be accompanied with excellent DOQ Priorat wine.

Please note: Should you wish to spend a few days in Barcelona prior to your Private Wine tour of Spain and Portugal, this can, of course, be arranged.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transportation; Private guided tours of 2 prestigious Penedes wineries with sampling of their wines/cava to follow; Overnight in a charming family run boutique hotel in Priorat Wine Country

DAY 2 PRIORAT

After breakfast at your hotel you are booked for private visits at three of the most prestigious Priorat wineries, 5 min. walk from your hotel. Priorat is famous for its mineral-rich soil, slate (called licorella by the locals), which creates a unique humidity for the vines. All of the vineyards are planted on mountain terraces or on a steep incline. The licorella soil and the little rain that comes while the grapes are maturing result in full ripeness of the grape. This creates a wine with high graduation that has more than 14% alcohol content.

The particular family-owned wine cellar you will visit this morning was awarded one of Robert Parker's highest ratings and he regards it as one of his favorite vineyards. Perhaps this will be one of your favorites too after a complete visit to their first class premises. The family has built their winery on an estate that was founded in 1270 and is one of the oldest in Priorat. Recognising an unusual combination of topography, soil and climate, a unique "terroir", and a one thousand year old wine-making tradition, they started a project to re-awaken the spirit of the old Carthusian oenologists, by rebuilding the steep, slatey terraces and replanting the vines. The old vineyard slopes were surveyed, the walls were repaired, the stones were cleared by hand and access paths were built. One of the family members will be there to attend you and share with you the secrets of their world class wine.

To follow you will tour a small boutique winery owned by a reputed wine merchant from Bordeaux. The property has 18 hectares, of which about 12 are planted with Grenache, Carignan (some over 60 years old), Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, Viognier and Chenin Blanc. Experimentally, some strains have been cultivated with Touriga Nacional, since the terrain is similar to the Portuguese Douro. The vineyards are in an area with an exceptional microclimate. You will enjoy a short tour of the winery and see their unique cellar, located in the old village underground water deposit. Then, a lunch in their restaurant awaits, with wine pairings from their own wine cellar, of course!

After lunch you will be heading to the first class winery, a must for any serious Spanish wine aficionado. Owned by Rene Barbier, one of the founders of the Priorat revolution, this emblematic winery is named after the single vineyard that Rene started to cultivate in the 1970's in the now-famous wine village of Gratallops. It was in 1979, when he acquired his first vineyard in Priorat and started to make his first wine in the area. Robert Parker was one of the first international critics to praise the wines of this incredible winery, which are nearly elixirs, the Priorat wines in general are already highly concentrated and "normal" yields are incredibly small, but here they go even further - they press the grapes using an olive press, which means they extract only half of the amount of juice that a typical wine press would, making the wine 50% more concentrated!

Your private tour with an in-house expert will take you on a drive through their vineyards with fantastic views and then take you on a thorough tour of the winery, followed by a tasting of their best wines.

Relax for the rest of the evening and breathe in the country-life or take a walk out in the small village before dinner. You will be dining this evening at a fantastic little local restaurant, owned by another prestigious winemaker, where you will be able to sample more local produce with a good choice of Priorat wines.

In a Nutshell: Private Guided Visits to 3 Prestigious Priorat Wineries with High End Wine Tasting; Authentic Priorat Country Lunch with Wines; Delicious dinner with wines; Overnight Priorat Wine country

DAY 3 LA RIOJA

This morning your chauffeur will await you and transfer you to La Rioja Wine Region - the journey is approximately 4,5 hours. On arrival in La Rioja you will check into your historic 4* star hotel, located in Laguardia, one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in Spain, reminiscent of Tuscan hilltop villages. It is surrounded by an ancient wall, and has a delightful jumble of cobblestoned streets lined with "Tabernas", wine shops, palaces, and cafes. The town walls are two meters high and are thick, covered with ashlars and topped by a battlemented parapet that, in the past, could be walked all around. There are five gates that lead into the town. The subsoil is tunneled along with wine cellars or caves excavated six meters down from the streets and houses.

We suggest lunch in this lovely village prior to touring a very special bodega, with impressive underground cellars. It is located under a medieval palace and is famous for elaborating its wines in a traditional manner, including "grape stomping". Your tour will include, of course, sampling of their best wines.

Afterwards, have a wander - take a tapa and a glass of wine here and there, if you feel so inclined, and enjoy having a little time to yourself. Alternatively, you might wish to dine La Riojan style at your hotel this evening. The Hotel has 2 restaurants offering authentic local dishes made with regional products of exceptional quality, all overseen by a long family tradition in the world of catering. A lighter option for dinner will be to descend into the atmospheric authenticity and magic of La Rioja Wine Country in the hotel's 16th century cellar. The extensive caves not only protect wine and food at a constant temperature throughout the year, but they also served as shelter in ancient armed conflict times.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transfers; Private guided visit to a typical Laguardia cellar with sampling of their best wines to follow; Overnight in an historic 4* star hotel in La Rioja Wine country

DAY 4 LA RIOJA

Today your chauffeur will take you to the cradle of La Rioja wine and you will start with a guided visit to a famous, unique, still family run Winery (NB: **this winery will not confirm a private visit and there is, therefore, a small possibility that there could be other people in your visit group). Proud of being old-fashioned, they still construct their own barrels on site and do not expect to see modern sophisticated machinery there, it is all done traditionally - and the wines are truly outstanding. For over a hundred and thirty years, three generations of the family have devoted themselves to vineyard care, a scrupulous selection of grapes, ageing in oak barrels in the heart of deep underground galleries, and the later ageing in bottles - the result being wines with an exceptional bouquet. Special mention ought to be made of their white wines. If there is one bodega experienced in producing old white wines, it has to be this, where they age white wines in oak for as long as reds; the result is much more surprising than might be expected. You'll have an excellent tour of the facilities finalised with a tasting of their main wines.

Continuing, you will make a "contrast" tour of a nearby modern style Bodega, founded some 20 years ago by a lovely Catalan couple. Well aware of the significant number of excellent traditional wineries in la Rioja, their objective was to create superb, high expression red wines in a modern style, reflective of the region and the constituent varietals, yet embodying something unique. The main wines from their vineyard are released onto the market as Reservas. You will surely enjoy the tasting of their best wines. The owners of the winery also produce incredibly high quality extra virgin olive oils in the Emporda region and in Mallorca, which you will also have an opportunity to sample.

After this intense morning of sampling the best Riojas, your chauffeur will take you to a nearby scenic village, where you will enjoy a relaxing Riojan country fare lunch, accompanied by more wines from the region, of course.

On the way back to your hotel, your chauffeur will detour at a couple of other prestigious wineries, where you will be able to taste more Rioja, different styles, to round this truly memorable and complete wine lovers day in La Rioja!

In a Nutshell: Guided visits to two prestigious wineries with sampling of their wines to follow, Wine tasting at other prestigious wineries, Overnight in La Rioja Wine Country

DAY 5 RIBERA DEL DUERO

This morning your chauffeur will transfer you to the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain, where you will check into a very special winery/hotel set like a jewel among the string of exclusive wine estates found along the Duero river. If the heart of the estate is the winery, its soul is the ancient 12th-century abbey, a beloved and carefully restored Spanish cultural heritage site. The hotel that has now emerged from within the cloistered Romanesque-Baroque abbey walls is a refined 5-star setting where guests will enjoy privacy of the privileged, the lap of luxury and the heart of the history.

Take some time to settle into this wonderful hotel where later you will have a full private visit to their lovely winery. Located at the heart of the Spanish winegrowing Golden Mile, this winery owns over 200 hectares of vineyard and is one of Spain's most modern wineries. After your unforgettable visit, you will have a pleasure to enjoy a full tasting of their best wines.

The rest of your day is free to explore your luxury hotel, the monastery and surrounding grounds. The exquisite hotel spa is a true gem, worth spending a whole afternoon. A reservation can be made for you in the hotel's superb restaurant for this evening.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transfer; Private guided tour of your hotel prestigious winery with sampling of their wines to follow; Overnight in a refined 5* Winery Hotel in Ribera del Duero Wine country

DAY 6 DOURO VALLEY

Your private wine adventure now continues to Portugal and your chauffeur will transfer you to the beautiful Douro Valley, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its characteristic terraced vineyards as the sloping hills meet the meandering river below.

On arrival, your chauffeur will take you to an astounding, very special and world famous Douro Valley winery. Sitting in a privileged location in the Douro Demarcated Region, this Quinta is famous for its sophisticated wines as well as for the dramatic views. This single vineyard property dates as far back as the early seventeenth century, long before the Douro became the world's first demarcated wine region in 1756. Recently they began a new venture with Jean Michel Cazes from one of our favorite wineries of the Bordeaux region, Chateau Lynch Bages. At the winery you will have a full private visit of the vineyards (with mind blowing views of the River Douro) and cellars, followed by a tasting of their incredible wines and ports with an exceptional lunch in a incredibly scenic setting.

Your chauffeur will then take you to your hotel, a charming 5-star property dating back to the XVIII century when it was an old Port winery, with a privileged location in the heart of the Douro valley and overlooking the Douro River.

Later, you may wish to walk out and explore the small town of Pinhao, spectacularly located at the confluence of the Douro and Pinhao rivers, and the epicenter of the Port winemaking area and a place where the soil and climatic conditions are considered to be at their very best.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transfers; Private Douro Valley Winery Visit, wine tasting and a Gourmet 3 course local lunch with exceptional wines; Overnight in a charming 5-star riverside hotel in the Douro Valley, Portugal

DAY 7 DOURO VALLEY

After a leisurely breakfast at your riverside hotel you will be visiting a prestigious Douro Valley Winery, situated close to your hotel, just 15 minutes walk along the river.

You will have a guided visit to the winery and cellars where they keep ageing their wines and ports. This winery is unusual in the way that they do everything in the Douro Valley. Most port houses make their port in the Douro but store and bottle it in Vila Nova da Gaia, in Porto. With 55 hectares of land planted to vines, they produce approximately 85,000 litres of Port and 200,000 litres of wine every year. They are fortunate in having a great diversity of vineyards which not only run along the banks of the River Douro, but also climb up to 400 metres above sea level. All the ports are foot trodden and some of their Reserve table wines also undergo a cold maceration in the lagares before being transferred to stainless steel fermentation tanks. On your visit you will hear how the family started the winery well over 100 years ago and learn of their wine making process. You will see the whole port and wine making process from the vineyard to the final bottle and be able to see both wine and port making processes side by side. Your visit here will conclude with a tasting of 3 of their DOC wines and 3 Ports.

After your visit and tasting you will be served lunch, an authentic 3 course meal, accompanied with wines/ports and, weather permitting, served on the terrace overlooking the river.

After lunch you will return to Pinhao, stroll back or the winery will be able to call you a taxi, where you are booked on an afternoon small group Rabelo boat cruise along the Douro River. On your 2 hour cruise up the river you will see the beauty of the area with the many wineries running down the hillsides and be able to imagine how, traditionally, Port wine was carried down the river from Douro to the lodges in Porto. We can OPTIONALLY arrange for you to have a privately skippered cruise. Rabelos are replica Vintage boats, traditionally used to carry the wine down the river from Douro to the lodges in Oporto. Sip white port whilst taking in the views of the vineyards and colonial style Quintas.

On your return, why not take a walk beside the Douro River or visit the iconic train station, just behind your hotel. Pinhao station is considered one of the most symbolic locations on the Upper Douro wine circuit. The picture postcard train station has 25 blue glazed tile panels covering the main building, representing the local landscapes and habits, predominantly of wine making.

For dinner, why not treat yourself to a luxury meal on the terrace of the incredible Rui Paula DOC restaurant, overlooking the grandeur of the vineyard covered mountains and the serenity of the Douro river and the riverside villages. Situated on one of the most beautiful scenic routes in the country, on the road between Regua and Pinhao, the restaurant occupies a building of contemporary lines with an elegant wooden deck terrace. We would be happy to make a reservation for you at Rui Paula, and regarding transportation: your hotel could call you a taxi to go as would the restaurant for your return.

In a Nutshell: Guided Winery Tour with Wine Tasting followed by a delicious lunch with wines, Rabelo boat cruise on the Douro River. Overnight Douro Valley

DAY 8 PORTO

Today you will be leaving the Douro Valley behind and your private chauffeur will be waiting to transfer you to Oporto. But, before you leave the Douro Valley behind you will enjoy a private visit to a fantastic family run winery with a small production (for Douro standards), but with great wines and even better views.

A relatively young winery, with it's first harvest taking place in 2007, the estate now occupies 30 hectares of land, 14 of which are vineyards. Both sophisticated techniques and traditional methods are used and despite the short number of years that it has been active; this young estate has now established itself as a quality winemaker! Red, White and Rose wines are produced with love and precision and some innovative and special edition products will delight your senses. After a complete private tour you will enjoy a tasting of their premium wines.

Your private chauffeur will then transfer you to Porto where, on arrival, you will have a panoramic tour of the city before heading to your luxury 5* spa hotel. Your hotel is owned by a family who entered the Port trade in 1838, and were among the most distinguished and enterprising of the Port families. Their descendants maintain this tradition as owners of three of the most famous Port companies. Your luxury hotel is named in celebration of the family's historic link with the city, and it draws on its owners' expertise in both fine wine production and luxury hotel management to become one of the world's leading wine hotels. Relax into your new surroundings and take advantage of the panoramic outdoor and indoor swimming pools, gymnasium and fantastic well-being area of the Hotel Spa.

We have many suggestions for a perfect late afternoon foray into the historical center of Porto for a bit of local culture and a fantastic dinner.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transfers; Prestigious Douro Valley Private Guided Winery Visit with premium wine tasting; Overnight in a luxury 5* spa hotel in Porto

DAY 9 PORTO

This morning after a leisurely breakfast and just a short walk from your hotel you are booked for a guided visit to a fantastic Port Wine Lodge which is one of the oldest of the founding Port houses and was established over three centuries ago in 1692. For many, it is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports. It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. The history of the firm is in many ways the history of the Port trade itself.

Since its foundation the company has remained independent. Now well into its fourth century, it has thrived and prospered, establishing itself as one of the worlds most respected historic wine houses. This has been achieved through the perseverance, pioneering spirit and continuity of purpose of successive generations of family involvement. You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Wine Lodge concluded with a delightful tasting of some of their best ports.

You will then head to the Gaia riverfront, the meeting point for traders and fishermen since medieval times; it was here they crossed the river to sell the products from the Upper Douro. Your next visit will be to another fantastic Port Wine Lodge that combines tradition and modernity. The building dates back to the 18th century and was restored in 1881 with the expansion of the Port wine trade. After your visit of the premises you will discover some of their delicious Port Wines.

For lunch, why not take a stroll over the Dom Luis Bridge, an unmistakable icon of Porto, to the Ribeira district, and sit back and relax on the riverbank of Porto. We have many suggestions for further sightseeing for this afternoon or you might just wish to return to your hotel and enjoy a relaxing session of pool and spa.

In a Nutshell: Visits and Port Wine Tastings to 2 Prestigious Port Wine Lodges, Overnight Porto

DAY 10 DEPARTURE

This morning, after breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and your chauffeur will be waiting to take you to Porto Airport for your onward flight.

We do hope you will join us for this wonderful and interesting food, wine and cultural private tour.

In a Nutshell: Chauffeured transfer to Porto Airport

Your tour includes:

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights at a charming family run boutique hotel in the heart of the Priorat countryside (superior room, double occupancy

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights in a 4* historical hotel in La Rioja Wine region (superior room, double occupancy)

  • Accommodation for one(1) night in a 5* converted monastery hotel attached to a leading Ribera del Duero winery (classic room, double occupancy)

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights at a wonderful 5* riverside hotel in the heart of the Douro Valley (river view room, double occupancy)

  • Accommodation for two (2) nights in an elegant 5* wine hotel and spa in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto (executive room, double occupancy)

  • Nine (9) full Breakfasts

  • Chauffeured transfers in a luxury vehicle, as indicated in the itinerary

  • Guided tours of twelve (12) prestigious wineries and two (2) wine lodges with a sampling of their best wines/ports to follow

  • Assistance of In-House Bi-lingual Wine Specialist at each winery visited

  • All the tastings and lunches/dinners with wine as stated in the itinerary

  • Rabelo boat cruise on the glorious Douro River

  • Online Personal Travel Webpage including daily itinerary, general local information, details of places of interest, suggestions for restaurant reservations, and your free time, etc.

  • Handy elegant Personal Travel Journal, which includes the extended information from your Personal Travel Website, that you can take with you as you go and keep as a souvenir to look back on.

  • 24/7 Back Office Assistance

Your tour does not include:

  • Flights

  • Meals and drinks not stated in the itinerary

  • Personal expenses such as telephone, minibar, etc.

  • Tips and gratuities at restaurants etc. at your discretion, NOT obligatory

  • Travel Insurance may be included in your quotation on request. We strongly recommend you to take out separate cancellation insurance.

Prices:

Please note our tours are available for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY and are not scheduled mixed group tours. Price is available upon request and varies depending on the number of guests and time of year. Feel free to contact us for your personal quote