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June is a wonderful time to enjoy this Portugal wine tour and dynamic contrasts of the culture, food and wine of the Celtic region of the Iberian Peninsula. If you want to discover the glories of Mencia, Godello, Vinhao, Merencao, Treixadura and the port grapes, join the tour!
Spend 7 nights in Portugal and Spain:
Start in Santiago de Compostella.
Leave Santiago for visit and lunch in Ribeira Sacra at Adega Algueira. Fernando Gonzalez makes a range of excellent reds and whites (from local varieties) that are highly rated by Parker. You enjoy lunch that features prime Galician beef and red wine, as well as surprisingly good whites. Then you enjoy a river cruise down the Sil in the late afternoon that gives the best vantage point for the almost vertical vineyards that cascade down to the river. Evening is free in Monforte de Lemos.
Morning wine visit Bodegas Estefania-Tilenus producers of fine Mencia wine before visit and lunch at the bodega of the Descendientes de J Palacios. The new winery designed by Moneo is not yet open so you will be delighted and honoured to be one of the first visitors at one of Spain’s top wine producers. Dinner at the hotel in Monforte.
You drive towards the coast to the historic white wine region of Ribeiro.This was Spain’s most famous white wine region in centuries past (and even during Franco’s time). Traditionally, the wines here are blended from local varieties and go well with seafood.
You will have a tasting at the beautfully located Gomariz before lunch at Vina Mein. Mein is at the forefront of creating more modern upscale wines here. Free evening in the Parador at Tui.
You cross the border into Portugal for a morning wine visit at Marcial Dorado,Vinho Verde. There is a tasting with Luis Cerdeira at Quinta do Soalheiro before with lunch at his sister’s nearby farm where you enjoy locally produced hams and cheeses with some of the region’s best alvarinhos. Evening dinner is at the Parador in Tui.
Morning wine visit to Quinta Casal do Paço in Vinho Verde where you enjoy Vasco Croft’s top quality wines in his superbly isolated winery before the drive to the Douro.
Your first stop is at Fonseca’s Quinta do Panascal near Pinhao. After a brief tour and tasting, you enjoy portonica cocktails on the terrace before a traditional Douro lunch with Quinta do Crasto wines.
In the afternoon, visit one of the great modern quintas at Vale Dona Maria. Here Cristiano Von Zeller is showing the heights that Douro wines as well as ports can achieve.
Check in to the Vintage House and free evening.
Morning visit to Quinta do Noval, a historic port shipper since 1715. It remains a great traditional port name and an innovative developer of very fine red wines. From here it’s downstream to Quinta do Crasto. One of the cutting edge group of new winemakers in the Douro (the Douro boys), do Crasto is set in stunning surroundings (above). You visit the quinta and taste a selection of their excellent wines and have lunch overlooking the river.
Free afternoon before dinner is at the DOC restaurant in Folgosa, overlooking the Douro. Chef Rui Paula is one of Portugal’s best.
After check out you make the short journey to the iconic Quinta do Seixo, home to the Sandeman brand. Brief visit and tasting with some port paired with chocolates before setting off back to Porto.
The afternoon is free before evening visit to Taylors, one of the great names of Port wines. You try a selection of the finest tawnies and vintage ports. You walk just across the road for a Michelin dinner the Yeatman, with stunning views over the city of Porto.
End of tour.
Portugal has always seemed a bit like Spain's alter ego on the Iberian peninsula. Portugal circumnavigated the world before Columbus went to America and colonized Brazil as Spain covered most of the rest of the Americas. The Portuguese love of cod and sardines matches the Spanish affection for squid and octopus although they both fish the same seas. Siestas never quite took off in Portugal and they manage to save the bull in the bullfight. Most importantly of all, the Portuguese supplied wine to England during the wars with Spain. Make no mistake, Portugal isn't an imitation of its neighbor, it's a totally different dish made from similar ingredients.
Spain has a diverse history as a crossroads from Europe to Africa. A range of empires has passed through the peninsula from the Phoenicians and Greeks through the Romans and Visigoths leading to the Moorish conquest, followed by the reconquista, the unifying of the nation by the Catholic monarchs and the more recent civil war and eventual path to democracy.
The wine history of Spain reflects the richness of the country's history and the diversity of its culture and geography. Ancient and modern ways sit side by side, creating a glorious canvas of wines and styles in regions that are remarkably little visited. If you're looking to get to know the real Spain, there's no better way than to explore the wine regions and revel in the unexpected treasures you'll find.
Iberian Wine Tours always provide a selection of top class restaurants on the trips, ranging from small and traditional to international standard award-winning venues. On this wine tour to Portugal and Galicia, you will dine at the following locations:
Everywhere in Spain, lunch is a long, slow ritual. There's always wine on the table and nothing is ever rushed. The local ways and dishes are revered are always unequivocally the best, wherever you go. Once you understand that you can't fight it, you just relax and always assume there's another dish to come. Nobody ever forgets the lunches on Iberian Wine Tours' trips.