This whistle-stop tour of Ribera del Duero, Rioja and San Sebastian offers a teasing introduction to the regional cuisine, wine and culture of this beautiful north-east corner of Spain.
Your expert guide is Enrique, a passionate wine maker and professional wine tourism guide with a WSET level 3 wine expert certification. He treasures the best contacts in each region and a great reputation as a wine tour guide.
Day 1: Ribera del Duero
Morning departure from Madrid heading for the Ribera del Duero wine growing region for a day of wine tasting at three of the region’s top wineries. Discover the versatility of the Tempranillo grape variety and a region that, in just a few years, has become the Spanish avant-garde of international wine.
First stop will be at a winery where the family have been making wine for centuries and are considered the fathers of modern Ribera del Duero wines. This family continues aging their wines in an underground cellar excavated in the 16th century.
Then you will visit a modern winery that mixes avant-garde architecture with functionality and integration into the landscape.
The third winery is dedicated to micro-elaborations of organic and biodynamic wines in a winery built with natural materials. They produce very high-quality wine that is difficult to find on the international market. Lunch will take place by the winery with the owner as a host.
After lunch, visit some of the most significant castles that the reconquest troops left in this border area between Arab and Christian kingdoms throughout the Middle Age before arriving at your hotel located right in the middle of the wine region.
Day 2: La Rioja
Today you will explore La Rioja, the oldest and most well-known DO (Denominación de Origen) in Spain.
First stop of the day will be at a family-owned winery in El Ciego, the heart of the Rioja Alavesa. It is documented that this family have been making wine in Rioja without interruption since the 16th century. Their excellent quality wines represent the refinement and elegance that Riojas achieve in this area.
Then enjoy a wine bar hopping experience within the historic Haro Station neighborhood, a place with the highest concentration of centennial wineries in the world (Muga, Viña Tondonia, Rioja Alta, Gómez Cruzado, Roda, Bodegas Bilbainas to name a few).
Lunch will be at an authentic sanctuary of Riojan wine, the restaurant of Dinastía Vivanco winery. Enjoy a typical Riojan menu paired with the wines of this famous winery.
In the afternoon visit a boutique winery that focuses on the production of signature wines with grapes from old vineyards, and experimental elaborations, such as fermentations in clay and aging in amphorae under the sea. It’s an excellent example of the versatility offered by the oenological diversity of Rioja.
Finally head up to the castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra to contemplate the immensity of the Rioja landscape at sunset.
Sleep will take place in one of the best hotels of the region. If you wish, there is the option for tapas and pintxos in the walled town of Laguardia.
Day 3: Rioja and San Sebastian
After breakfast, one final stop will made in Rioja at one of the most famous and avant-garde wineries in La Rioja, before heading to the coast and San Sebastian.
Sixteen Michelin stars, a gastronomic university, the possibility of tasting haute cuisine in mini portions (pintxos), two designations of origin (Idiazabal cheese & Getaria txakoli) and a wide range of top quality natural products are all the reasons why San Sebastian is a paradisiacal destination for foodies.
Visit the picturesque town of Hondarribia and enjoy an authentic Basque meal in an old mill that has been restored as a traditional restaurant. Then visit one of the most awarded and famous Txakoli wineries, the white wine that is traditional on the Basque coast.
On arrival in San Sebastian check in to your hotel then enjoy a walk through its spectacular urban surroundings at the foot of the coast. The day concludes with a pintxos and wine tour through the old town.
Day 4. Depart San Sebastian
Time to bid farewell to your expert host Enrique who will transfer you to San Sebastian train station for your onward journey, or return to Madrid.
Please note: this proposed itinerary can be personalised to meet your wine and food preferences.
- Pick up (Madrid) and drop off (San Sebastian or Madrid)
- Visits to local monuments, picturesque spots and village stops
- 3 nights accommodation with breakfast (standard double room)
- Wine tasting: at least 3 wines at each winery
- Snacks of cheese, ham and local products or extra virgin olive oil will be included at the wineries
- Daily lunch
- Wineries tours as detailed in the itinerary
- Bilingual local guide with WSET level 3 certification in wine expertise
- Private transportation in a high-end vehicle with AC
- Evening meals
Pick up from Madrid airport or central Madrid accommodation