VIP TRAVEL:Spain Tour 2010
Introduction:
The huge rise in demand for the wines from Ribera del Duero is a relatively new phenomenon. The DO Ribera del Duero was created in 1982 with just nine bodegas, but there are now two hundred and twenty five members, with new members being added each year.
Strong demand for the wines (based on Tinto fino – a variant of Tempranillo) has gone hand in hand with high prices. Indeed Dominio de Pingus makes Spain’s most expensive wine.
Our base is a comfortable 4-star Parador in Lerma, located in the former castle, within easy reach of restaurants and bars in town.
The Rioja by contrast with Ribera del Duero has a great wine making tradition dating back to the 1560s.
Our base for exploring the wines of the Rioja will be the historic walled town of Laguardia overlooks the plains of the Rioja Alavesa, the perfect base from which to explore the most important areas of production.
Laguardia is pretty walled town, with many bodegas and cellars carved out beneath the streets. The town itself is well preserved and a particular highlight is the church of Santa Maria. There is a good selection of bars and restaurants in town, 10 minutes walk from our base the 4-star Hotel Villa de la Guardia.
Winery highlights: Rioja: Bodegas Palacio, Marques de Riscal, Ysios, Vina Tondonia Ribera del Duero:Bodegas J C Conde, Bodegas Valduero, Dominio de Pingus
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Monday 15th November 2010
2:00pm 2:30pm 3:00pm
Pick-up for those staying at the Hotel Abando Bilbao airport Depart for Laguardia
LAGUARDIA
Laguardia was once the capital of Rioja-Alavesa, a fortress town still surrounded by its walls, parts of which date to the 11th century.
The town is honeycombed with caves built for wine making and for this reason vehicles are banned from entering the town, which makes it all the better to explore on foot.
There are two key Gothic monuments, the Church of Santa Maria de los Reyes and the Church of San Juan.
Accommodation has been reserved for four nights at:
HOTEL VILLA DE LAGUARDIA (4-star) Paseo San Raimundo, 15. Apto de Correos 1 01300 Laguardia (Alava)
Spain
Tel: 0034 945 600 560 Fax: 0034 945 600 561
The Villa de Laguardia is a modern hotel located immediately on the fringes of town, a 10 minute walk from the centre.
Rooms have en suite bathrooms and bedrooms are equipped with safety deposit, satellite television, direct dial telephone and mini bar. The hotel has a bar and restaurant El Medoc Alaves.
Laguardia has several mesones where you can enjoy tapas as well as more refind restaurants. Ian will be making a reservation for those who wish to join him.
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Tuesday 16th November 2010 10:30amDepart for Marques de Riscal
Marques de Riscal is one of the great names of Rioja and one of the oldest wineries in the region, established in 1860.
The winery has a fascinating mix of old and new – one of the oldest wine cellars in the Rioja side by side with Canadian architect Frank Gehry’s extraordinary hotel and visitor centre.
13:30pm
15:15pm
16:30pm
arranged.
Lunch is included at Restaurante Bistrot 1860 Depart for Bilbao A guided tour of the Guggenheim museum has been
The Guggenheim museum is as celebrated for its stunning architecture by Frank O Gehry, as it is for its collections. After the guided visit there will be free time to explore the museum and its collections.
19:30pm
20:00pm
21:30pm
Depart for the airport Jorisia Washington arrives at Bilbao airport. Arrive at hotel
This evening dinner is independent in Laguardia. Ian will be making a
reservation for those who wish to join him.
Wednesday 17th November 2010 10:45amDepart for Ysios
Ysios is part of Allied Domecq plc, established in 1998. The estate has 50 hectares of Tempranillo and the estate makes nothing but reservas.
The winery itself has become an icon for the region thanks to the rippling lines of its roofline, designed by Santiago Calatrava, inspired by the rows of casks used to age its wines.
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This evening a visit has been requested to Bodegas Palacio, close to the hotel which has a wine cellar dating from 1894 followed by dinner in the restaurant.(Dress: Casual smart)
13:00pmVisit the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada Santo Domingo de la Calzada is one of the most important stops on the
pilgrimage route to Santiago.
St Domingo founded the town in the 11th century with a refuge on the spot where the Parador de Turismo now stands. However the town’s fame lies with the miracle of the cock and hen – commemorated by the live cockerel and hen in a coop inside the Cathedral.
14:00pmLunch is included at the Parador
16:30pmVisit the winery of Vina Tondonia (Haro)
Lopes de Heredia is one of the oldest wineries in the Rioja Alta, dating back to 1877. The Tondonia vineyard was planted in 1913 and produces the vineyards highest quality wines – and in great years the Gran Reservas.
19:30pmThis evening a visit has been requested to Bodegas Palacio, close to the hotel which has a wine cellar dating from 1894 followed by dinner in the restaurant.
21:00pmDinner is included at Bodegas Palacio. Thursday 18th November 2010 10:30amDepart for Roda
Roda is a more recent arrival, established in 1987. The stunning vintage of 1997 brought its wine to a more wider audience. The vineyards wines are selected from dozens of tiny plots (60 hectares in total) and fermented separately.
13:20pmDepart Haro for Dinastia Vivanco
13:30pmLunch is included at Dinastia Vivanco
Dinastia Vivanco dates back to 1917. The wines produced here are always easily spotted thanks to the distinctive shape of the bottles. As well as a pretty restaurant overlooking the vineyards, the winery boasts an
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excellent wine museum, tracing the origins of wines through from its very earliest origins.
18:30pmArrive at hotel This evening dinner is independent in Laguardia. Ian will be making a
reservation for those who wish to join him.
Friday 19th November 2010 08:30amDepart for Burgos 10:00amA guided visit has been organised to the Cathedral of Burgos.
Burgos Cathedral is one of the most beautiful Gothic-style churches in Spain. It was started in 1221 on the orders of Ferdinand III and the British born Bishop of Burgos, Mauricio. The 16th century towers on either side of the façade are the work of Juan de Colonia. Inside the Cathedral holds the remains of El Cid, moved here in 1919.
11:00amDepart for Abadia de Retuerta
12:30pmVisit Abadia de Retuerta
Abadia de Retuerta is situated on the Golden Mile – a stretch of the Duero river valley which is home to some of Spain’s great wine makers such as Vega Sicilia and Dominio de Pingus. The state of the art winery produces excellent wines.
14:00pmLunch is at Abadia de Retuerta.
17:00pmVisit Dominio de Pingus
Dominio de Pingus enjoys almost iconic status, vying with Vega Sicilia for the title of the most highly prized Spanish wines. The vineyard is one of few to whom Parker has awarded 100 points, and the vineyards cru has consistently scored over 95 points for the last decade. This will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a barrel tasting at Peter Sisseck’s renowned winery.
20:00pmCheck in at the Parador de Lerma
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Accommodation has been reserved for three nights at:
PARADOR DE LERMA (4-star) Plaza Mayor, 1 09340 Lerma (Burgos) Spain
Tel: 0034 947 17 71 10 Fax: 0034 947 17 06 85
Rooms have en suite bathrooms and bedrooms are equipped with safety deposit, satellite television, direct dial telephone and mini bar. The hotel has a bar and restaurant.
21:30pmThis evening dinner is included in the hotel restaurant. Wine is also included with the chance for you to try the local Rosado del Arlanza.
LERMA
Standing on the banks of the River Arlanza, the city lies 38km from Burgos - a sleepy town of steep narrow streets that lead up into the wide civic squares of the Plaza del Duque and Plaza de los Mesones.
Lerma probably has roots back in the Roman era but came to prominence in the wars of the Counts of Castile against the Moors, who had occupied the city since the 8th century. In the 10th century the Counts reconquered Lerma, an important strategic point due to its position on high ground above the River Arlanza.
The noble appearance of Lerma dates from the 17th century, when the Third Duke of Lerma and the first Great Duke, Francisco Gomez de Sandoval y Rojas turned the town into a small court. The Great Duke was royal adviser to King Philip III overseeing a vast building program from 1601 to 1617 that has left the city its major monuments.
You can enjoy a very pleasant walk through the town to see these monuments starting from the Plaza Mayor (which originally had porticoes on all sides). Just below it you will find the Monastery of Santa Teresa (1617) formerly occupied by Carmelite friars, but now home of the tourist office. From here be sure to visit the Mirador de Los Arcos, a preserved portion of the portico that once led from the Dukes Palace to the Collegiate Church of San Pedro (1613-1617).
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From the Mirador, you can access the sentry walk along the walls with views over the Arlanza river valley. In the Collegiate Church itself you can find good examples of Spanish Baroque – the high altarpiece, choir, stalls and pulpit. Look out for the statue of Archbishop Cristobal de Rojas y Sandoval begun by Juan de Arfe and finished by Lesmes Fernandez del Moral. The decoration on the cape and coat of arms is excellent. The two organs (dating from 1615) are the oldest in Spain.
The Ducal Palace (1601-1617) designed by Francisco de Mora on the ruins of the former castle is one of Spain’s finest examples of 17th century civil architecture, with sober and elegant lines, flanked by two angular towers. The Palace is now home to the new Parador.
In recent years Lerma has come to prominence again thanks to its proximity to the burgeoning wine area of Ribera del Duero, midway on the motorway between Burgos and Aranda de Duero. The wines of Arlanza are themselves worthy of note, particularly the Rosado del Arlanza (at least 50% Tempranillo sometimes with Garnacha).
Saturday 20th November 2010
An ample breakfast buffet is served on the second floor of the hotel. 11:30amDepart for Gumiel del Mercado. 12:00pmVisit Bodegas Valduero and meet Jeni Wilson, our local host.
The Ribera del Duero’s altitude and geography play a key role in the quality of the grapes. Planted at heights of up to 850m, summer temperatures can reach 40 C, but this is followed by a big drop during the night by as much as 20 C.
“Strange as it may seem, the vines actually benefit from this temperature change, because it allows them to ‘sleep’ or remain dormant at night. In hotter regions during the ripening season, vines draw nutrients from the soil to keep them going twenty-four hours a day. In Ribera del Duero, however, the vine quite literally ‘chills out’ overnight. When the sun comes up, the nutrients it would have consumed are still in the soil, waiting to be passed on to where they really need to be: inside the grapes themselves”.
John Radford – The New Spain, p.52, 2007 [publ. Mitchell Beazley]
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At Gumiel del Mercado, you can see a wonderful example of the cellar culture that developed in the area thanks to the summer heat. All over the town you can see chimneys on little knolls marking the ventilation shafts to the cellars below, where temperatures remain constant.
Bodegas Valduero have kindly agreed to recreate the pena (hill) experience for you, whereby locals join together during local festivals to celebrate and drink away from the site under the hills. After a visit to the state of the art new winery, lunch will be served in the old town with freshly prepared lechazo (roasted lamb) with wines both from Ribera and the Toro regions.
18:00pmVisit NEO – BODEGAS CONDE On arrival at the winery meet Javier Ajenjo, one of the three young
owners, for a visit to the winery and tasting before continuing to Lerma.
The three young owners knew they had a success on their hands when Robert Parker awarded NEO PUNTA ESENCIA 2001 95+ points, made with grapes from 80-year old Tempranillo vines aged 20 months and bottled without filtration.
Robert Parker singled out NEO as one of the five best future prospects for Spanish wine, with NEO PUNTA ESENCIA now considered as one of Spain’s best wines.
“More similar to a Bordeaux first or second-growth than a Spanish Ribera del Duero, it boasts an inky/ruby/purple colour as well as a sensational perfume of espresso roast, graphite, black currant liqueur, and pain grille.
While Neo continues to collect international awards and accolades, the three owners divide their passion for making good wine with a passion for making music, establishing a recording studio at the winery and decorating it with ‘pop art’.
This evening join Jeni Wilson and Ian, for an evening out in Aranda de Duero.
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Sunday 21st November 2010
An ample breakfast buffet is served on the second floor of the hotel.
12.00pmDepart for Finca Cardaba.
Finca Cardaba is a small producer with the winery founded in 1997 – a special invitation has been extended to the party to join the family for Sunday lunch and a discovery of the wines.
17:00pmDepart for the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos
The Romanesque monastery is famous for its 11th century cloister. The beautiful capitals resting on double columns depict variety of themes. On the corners you can see scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. On the ceiling, there is Mudejar (Moorish craftsmen who remained working for the Christians after the Reconquista) coffering from the 14th century, representing scenes from daily medieval life.
The monastery, managed by Benedictine monks is particularly renowned for their celebrated Gregorian masses which will begin at 19:00.
This evening dinner is independent in Lerma. Ian will be making a reservation for those who wish to join him.
Monday 22nd November 2010 07:30amDepart for Madrid 09:30amArrive at Madrid Barajas airport.
BUEN VIAJE!
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USEFUL INFORMATION Weather – in November the average temperature in the Rioja and Ribera del Duero is 5°C to 10°C. Please note the temperature falls sharply at night. As rainfall is possible please pack with this in mind.
Safety in Spain– The smaller towns in Spain do not generally have a problem with personal safety though pick pocketing in crowds may be a problem. Bag- snatching is less common but not unheard off. For this reason, please take precautions and leave valuables in the safe at your hotel, and do not carry large amounts of cash. Read guide books inside and stay alert when out and about.
Dress code – most of the restaurants where the party has reservations are fairly elegant and you should dress casual smart. Jackets without ties are fine for the gentlemen. Please think foremost to your own comfort and pack some warm clothes and some protection against the eventuality of wet weather.
Service – usually included in restaurant prices. For excellent service, a tip is welcomed by waiters.
Exchange rate – The tourist rate is approximately $1.00 to €0.70.
What travel documents will I need? – You will need a valid passport, a note of your e-ticket or printed flight ticket, a copy of your travel insurance policy (making a note of the number for medical emergency overseas) and credit card(s).
In an emergency – in the event that you are unable to contact Ian Blackburn, please contact Tastes of Italy calling +44 20 8874 3490 explaining that you are travelling in Spain. Out of hours you can call William on +44 7867 797890 – you should leave a message with a contact number where we can reach you.
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