Ever popular, ever successful. Our wine tour programme would not be complete without a visit to La Rioja where quality and value go hand in hand. Over the years we have tried to ring the changes so that it appeals to those who love the region and once again there are small differences in the programme. This year we've added additional elements to it. Needless to say, the cuisine is almost as important as the wine and we have yet to meet anyone who is not impressed with the local standard.
Sunday We pick up as shown below and sail from Plymouth at 1645 on the "Pont Aven”. We have dinner together this evening as we sail through the Channel.
Monday Enjoy the ocean breezes as we pass the west coast of France and into the Bay of Biscay. . We reach Santander at 1400 and after disembarkation we head east towards Bilbao then south to La Rioja. We now carry on to Logroño and check in to the central Hotel Marques de Vallejo in the Old Quarter where we stay for five nights. We have dinner nearby at Restaurante Herventia.
On Tuesday - we travel to Samaniego and visit the prestigious Bodegas Baigorri in Rioja Alavesa.This astonishing modern winery sits like a glass box on top of a hill but descends into the ground through seven storeys. We’ll see the entire wine making process and then have a tasting followed lunch on the estate. In the afternoon we visit Bodegas Casa Primica in La Guardia which is located in the oldest building in town with medieval tunnels. We return to the hotel for a free evening.
Wednesday we travel eastwards to Haro where we visit Bodegas Bilbainas. From here we continue outside the town to La Vieja Bodega for lunch. In the late afternoon we’ll head to La Guardia for a visit and tasting at the ultra modern Bodegas Ysios before we return to the hotel and a free evening .
On Thursday we set off on the short journey to San Vicente Sonsierra where we visit Bodegas Ramirez de la Piscina, owned by a genial character whose ancestors included El Cid and whose family has been linked with the Kings of Navarra since the 13th C. After our visit we drive into Haro for individual sightseeing and lunch. In the early afternoon we have a visit and tasting at Ramon Bilbao and then return to Logroño for some sightseeing and in the evening we have dinner at Restaurante El Cacheterro in Calle Laurel.
On Friday we travel south east and into Rioja Oriental which has a different climate, landscape and winemaking style. We begin with a visit to the vineyards and then to Vina Hermina for a tasting and snacks. Then we move on to a sister vineyard, Fincas de Azerbache where we will have a lengthy lunch. We return to our hotel for a final evening in Logroño. Last chance to hit Calle Laurel’s tapas bars!
We leave the hotel on Saturday and make our way into Navarre where we stop at Olite to visit Bodegas Ochoa and then a little sightseeing. We resume the drive in the afternoon and travel to the elegant city of San Sebastian where we check into Hotel San Sebastian for two nights.
This region is renowned for its culinary skills so we are not arranging dinner tonight so that you can explore its attractions individually. The hotel has a restaurant but there are others nearby and the harbour area has some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Spain.
Lie in a while on Sunday before we set off out of town to visit Bodegas Gorka Izigarre at Larrabetzu. After the tasting we have lunch in their Michelin starred restaurant Eneko. We return to the hotel for a free evening.
Monday We depart the hotel in the morning and make our way along the coast to the resort and port of Castro Urdiales for a brief sightseeing halt. We’ll continue to Santander before we board the ferry for the 1545 sailing to Plymouth. We have dinner together this evening in Le Flora restaurant .
Next day, Tuesday, continue taking advantage of the sea airs. The ship arrives in Plymouth at 1400 and after disembarkation the coach returns to the original pick up points.
The cost includes: all travel by executive coach; ferry crossing with cabin;ftwo dinners on board ship; five nights 3* hotel accommodation;two nights 4* hotel accommodation; one meal each day as detailed;all visits and tastings; Tour Escort.
Single supplement - (Room & cabin) £245
Pick up points - London-Portsmouth- Exeter - Newton Abbot - Plymouth Ferryport