15 NIGHT SPANISH WINE, GOURMET CUISINE AND CULTURAL EXPERIENCE 2024
SMALL GROUP 20-24 GUESTS
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th
HOWARD FRIEDMAN – SPANISH WINE IMPORTER
4O YEARS OF WINE EXPERIENCE
Join me for a unique and extraordinary 16-day tour through Spain’s, most fabled countryside beginning in Galicia, Asturias; and Cantabria with wine tastings with the producers of at some of Spain’s most extraordinary bodegas in Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, Bierzo, Txakoli, Rioja, Ribera Del Duero; and Rueda. We will be dining on incomparable regional cuisine in two Michelin starred restaurant and stopping for guided tours of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Our journey will draw to a close with time to enjoy the beauty of Madrid at one of the world’s finest hotels.
For 10 years, I think that I have been able to capture the most extraordinary experiences, the most incredible winery visits, and the most wonderful dining experiences imaginable, but each time I go, I find that, indeed, one can go home again! Always new things to see, exquisite meals to enjoy, and extraordinary wines to savor with fellow travelers.
Having the tour start in Santiago de Compostela has provided new opportunities to more deeply explore Galicia. Visiting with Casar de Burbia in Bierzo adds a perfect glimpse of a small winery passionately producing a very small quantity of superb wines. Lunching in a 400-year-old inn with Señor Do Campo at his winery in Ribeiro and tasting his exquisite white wine makes for both a great learning experience and an enchanting home-cooked meal. Traveling on to a chartered boat ride to the mussel grounds in the estuary of O Grove has proven to be a delicious prelude to one of the most extraordinary lunches I have ever had at a tiny, one Michelin star restaurant in Cambados.
During our stay in the Basque Region, we will enjoy a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum, learn Basque cooking techniques at a tapas preparation class in San Sebastian, and visit Bodega Katxiña, a Txakoli winery of very high quality with vineyards along the banks of the river Oria. For those who know only a little about Spanish wines and for those who wish to visit the cellars of world-renowned wineries, you will find that the learning experience is extraordinary! We will visit the vineyards, taste in the cellars and learn to appreciate the wide variety of flavors one finds in both red and white Spanish wines. All of these experiences amid the lush countryside and storied history of the land and its people.
It is much more than a time to take pictures and walk through quaint towns. It is a tour where you will be invited into a world of very special people who have created extraordinary wines. You will experience Spanish cuisine at its freshest and in its most amazing settings. And you will visit some of the world’s most astounding cathedrals and exquisite galleries. There will also be time for quiet walks on your own; dining experiences to savor by yourselves – a rich tapestry of encounters in every village and large city. Touring on your own at your own pace with suggestions from our Spanish guide and myself will help you get the most from your experience in a very personal way.
All of the last tours were a fantastic success for many reasons: the quality of the wineries that were visited; the Paradors and 4 & 5 star level of hotel accommodations; the wealth of information that was provided about Spain’s fascinating culture; and the superb cuisine and wine tasting experiences that are included in the tour price; and finally, the smallness of the group and the personal attention given to assuring that each guest was highly pleased with their experience.
Previous tours have all included a lovely day in San Sebastian in the Basque country, where we will have a gourmet cooking lesson with a Basque Chef; but this year’s itinerary will make your visit to Spain even more special:
On our way to Bilbao we will stop in Asturias for a tour and tasting at one of the finest cider producers in Spain.
We will be learning the art of Tapas (Pintxos in Basque) preparation atMIMO restaurant in the extraordinary Maria CristinaHotel in San Sebastian with lunch afterwards.
A wonderful addition to our experiences is a chartered boat ride in a Galician estuary, “ria” in Spanish, for a visit to a floating barge called a “batea” from which mussels, oysters and “vieras” (scallops) are harvested. Afterwards we will have lunch at Yayo Daporta in Cambados whose chef was the youngest chef to win a Michelin star and was also featured on Spain’s version of Top Chef.
We will travel through the picturesque valley of the river Sil to Carracedelo in Bierzo where we will enjoy an alfresco lunch and tasting of the wines from Casar de Burbia and after visiting their extraordinary, hillside vineyards along “The Way of the Cross”. These wines have received notable reviews from The Wine Advocate; The Wine Spectator and the prestigiousPenin Guide of Spain.
Bodegas Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondoniaand Proeliohave been added in Rioja. There you will tour their amazing cellars and barrel making facility and taste a wonderful array of their wines. At Proelio you will see how modern wine making philosophy differs from that of a very old family winery. At Javier Sanz, in Rueda, their incredibly old Verdejo vines and the newly resurrected Malcorta grape clone will be discussed and tasted. We will then enjoy a tapas lunch at the winery.
In past years we have only had 2 nights in Madrid. Since 2019, an extra night in Madrid has been added so that there are now 3 nights and 2 full days as part of the tour. We will be staying at the spectacular Wellington Hotel in the exclusive Salamanca shopping district; close to the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza museums. The Madrid Metro, only a few steps away, will take you anywhere in Madrid you wish to go.
On the final leg of our journey, it was sometimes the case that we arrived too early in the day for all of the rooms to be ready for us at our hotel in Madrid. I have added a short stop for lunch in Segovia as we travel south from La Seca in Rueda to preclude that happening. In this lovely city you will be able to see a 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct that is still in use today.
THE TOUR IS DESIGNED FOR 20-24 PEOPLE
Merrill - Sun Bird Travel 239-430-2000 Howard Friedman 240-401-9342