Index

1. JP's Corner, Wine of the Month
2. Luxury Wine Tours - Douro River Cruise & Harvest Wine Tasting, Portugal
3. Food & Wine Day Excursions: Cheese & Olive Oil Experience, San Sebastian
4. Winery Profile: Martue, La Mancha, Spain
5. City Profile: Bilbao, Spain
6. Guest Chef & Recipe- Marc Fosh from Michelin Starred Read's, Mallorca, Spain
7. Haute Cuisine: Casa del Temple, Toledo, Spain
8. Luxurious Palatial City Hotel: 4* Neri, Barcelona, Spain
Wine Tours Newsletter

Daily Telegraph (UK), Monday, 23rd August 2004

Cellar Tours was recommended in the UK Telegraph Travel Section on August 23rd: "If summer fun is wearing thin these tours will turn your mind to higher things. By Joanna Broglio. . Following in Don Quixote's footsteps in wine country October 25-29: The tour starts in Madrid and explores the La Mancha region of Spain - the setting for Cervantes's famous novel and also the largest single demarcated wine region in the world."
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1. JP's Corner, Wine of the Month

Juan Pedro Vasquez
Carlos Falco in the Syrah Vines

This winery is one of the few in Spain that has its own denomination of origin, so called Valdepusa Dominion, which is the name of this unique vineyard. The Marquis de Grion family have been the owners of these terroirs in the middle of the Castillian plateau, since the 13th century. Valdepusa produces varietals well adapted to the type of soil, some of them imported long time ago, though its first vintages were not very well understood by our "Paleolithic" Ministry of Agriculture.

Valdepusa Dominion

A wine visionary, the Marquis introduced irrigation, mixed plantation system and other notions of modern wine-making, that ensure every wine coming from his hands to be a quality assured vinified liquid. Granted, this month's wine does not fit every pocket, but it still affordable for lovers of "vinos de autor", or "Garage Wines". The Pago (single vineyard) with its "unique and permitted" grape vines, grown on the clay and lime soils of the Valdepusa Dominion, give probably the best must in the entire Toledo Province. This gentle wine has a prolonged maceration of up to 4-5 weeks and aging in new French Nevers (75%) and Allier (25%) oak barrels for thirteen months in a climate- controlled aging cellar.

In my Riedel glass, EMERITUS gives a clear ruby-red color, in some years time this ruby will turn to a deep bluest rimmed wine. My nose went crazy with intense, complex bouquet, some mocca, some herbs, some plum, and plenty of Allier wood notes. Everything came into place in the mouth- elegant, harmonious, some hard edges and finishes with complex dusty tannins.

Our Rating 93/100
Type: Aged Red
Appellation: Dominio de Valdepusa
Region: Central Plateau, Toledo, Spain
Grape Composition: 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Syrah, 14% Petit Verdot
Pairing: Steak Tartar, Aged Cheese.




2. Luxury Wine Tours - Douro River Cruise & Harvest Wine Tasting, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Probably one of the most picturesque and amazingly scenic regions in all of Europe, the Douro Valley is truly a magical place. Wine Tasting, a private River Cruise and lovely views are what make this trip one to remember. This luxurious and unforgettable tour begins when you are picked up at your Oporto hotel by luxury Mercedes and Private Chauffeur. The drive towards the scenic Douro begins, destination Regua.

After about a 2 hour marvellous journey, you arrive to your private Rabelo boat in Regua, where you will be thrilled with a cruise towards Pinho. Arrive to the famed Vintage House, right on the mighty Douro with stunning views. Vintage House is one of the most famous establishments in Portugal and have the best views of the Douro. From lunch, take in magnificent vistas of steep hills covered in vines and the sparkling river reflecting in the sun. You will be treated to a lovely VIP wine tasting at the revered Quinta da Pacheca. Your mouth will be agape when you see some of the views along the way. Today will be totally dedicated to great wines, delicious cuisine and memorable views. Don't forget the camera!
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3. Food & Wine Day Excursions: Cheese & Olive Oil Experience, San Sebastian

Idiazabal Cheese

After various requests from our clients for visits to witness Cheese Making, we have organized this memorable excursion to a private cheese farm and paired it with Olive Oil Tasting. The stunning green mountains and isolated stone villages set into hidden valleys are out of reach of most travellers to the Basque Country, and we want you to experience it! Our day begins with a guided market visit in San Sebastian after which we will delve into the world of boutique olive oils with a commented tasting. We will travel into the mountains and meet a Basque shepherd whose 300 head flock is at the forefront of a program to preserve and improve the Latxa breed. Idiazabal, a famous raw sheep's milk cheese is produced exclusively with the milk of the Latxa. The Shepard's wife will offer us a tasting of their award winning cheeses accompanied as tradition mandates by a fine Rioja wine.
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4. Winery Profile: Martue, La Mancha, Spain

Fausto Gonzlez, Director of Martue, in the Vineyard

Martue is one of the most exciting wines to have emerged from the very up and coming wine region of La Mancha. The region of La Mancha has traditionally been known as a region producing vast quantities of dire wine, quantity rather than quality. This has changed in recent years, with Alejandro Fernandez (of Pesquera) launching the new winery of El Vinculo, Martinez Bujanda (of Rioja fame), launching Finca Antigua, and of many newcomers, flushed with new confidence, investment and above all, huge ambition. Martue is one of these "newcomers". Fausto Gonzalez planted vines back in 1990, as he realized the untouched potential in the area. He dug up the lackluster "Airen" grapes (responsible for fairly drab, bulk wine) and planted Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and of course, Tempranillo, Spain's noble grape.
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5. City Profile: Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao is one of the principal cities in Spain's beautiful Basque Country. Compared to the aristocratic San Sebastian, Bilbao has always been considered the ugly, industrial step-sister. It was Spain's most important industrial city, and became quite gritty as a consequence. Things changed when Canadian born American architect Frank Gehry chose Bilbao as the site for the magnificently modern and almost space-age Guggenheim museum. The deal was negotiated between the New York-based Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Basque regional government. The result was one of the most impressive architectural achievements in Europe, and a cultural renaissance in de-industrializing Bilbao. Bilbao suddenly appeared on the map of culture vultures, and a gust of creativity, commerce and confidence burst into Bilbao.
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6. Guest Chef & Recipe- Marc Fosh from Michelin Starred Read's, Mallorca, Spain

Marc Fosh

Marc has contributed one of his delicious recipes in this new section, "Cellar Tours Guest Chef". Bon appetite!

Spain is increasingly becoming well-known in culinary circles as a source of high quality ingredients. The Spanish olive oil is legendary, as is the saffron, bellota (acorn fed ham), etc. Flor de sal is the new ingredients on all "Foodies" lips, and Spain's Flor de Sal from Mallorca is superb. This Spanish dessert is a creation of Marc Fosh, using the Flor de Sal cleverly. Marc Fosh is the Michelin-starred chef/director at Read's hotel and restaurant, Santa Maria, Mallorca, Spain.
more info...

To find out about exciting new VIP cooking classes with Marc Fosh, contact us on [email protected]




7. Haute Cuisine: Casa del Temple, Toledo, Spain

Casa del Temple, Toledo, Spain

One of the most exhilarating gastronomic experiences we have had lately was last month at the exceptional "Casa del Temple", smack in the middle of Toledo's historic quarter. Toledo has long been in need of some new ideas and creativity in the restaurant sector. Most of the restaurants were good, not great, relying on the "caza " (game) dishes. These same traditional and rather boring restaurants were also touristy and over priced for the quality levels. That was before La Casa del Temple burst onto the scene, run by ambitious young Andalusian chef, Angel Leon.

What a place! The restaurant, to begin, is gorgeous. Located in an original 10th century Moorish Palace, whose ownership changed over the centuries between Christians and Jews, the restaurant has in fact taken the history of the "Three Cultures" as the concept for its cuisine. Toledo is famous for its historical tolerance and the three intertwined histories of Muslims, Jews and Christians, and Angel has come up with the brilliant idea of expressing this fusion of cultures through his kitchen. He has adapted recipes and ideas from the Kabala, the Koran and the Bible, and created magical combinations of flavors and textures. The best thing about Angel's cooking is, at the end of the day, it's edible. It's clever without being pretentious, very refreshing. If you plan to visit Toledo on your tour of Spain, don't miss La Casa del Temple!

La Casa del Temple
Soledad,
245001 Toledo,
Spain
Tel: +34 925 221 257




8. Luxurious Palatial City Hotel: 4* Neri, Barcelona, Spain

Hotel Neri, Barcelona

Barcelona's beautiful Barri Gotic (Gothic neighborhood) has long been plagued by bad hotels. Hotels in the "Gotic" have either been noisy, mediocre, over-touristy, and many of them with ghastly decoration and service. Why do people want to stay in this neighborhood, with its reputation of pick pockets and awful hotels? Well, it is the hub of culture, bars, shops and restaurants and many people like to be right downtown, particularly in a city as fantastic as Barcelona. The new 4* Hotel Neri has filled this gap, and how! Imagine: an ancient palace on a quiet narrow street, downtown, and yet feeling tucked away.

Enter the palace and enter another world, calm and relaxing with amazingly friendly staff. Let's begin with the decoration. Lush fabrics and colors, excellent lighting, wonderful antiques (in good shape) get you started. The rooms are tastefully decorated, with perks such as Plasma TVs and luxury bathrooms, many with private terraces where you can sip on Cava. There is a rooftop terrace for sun bathing, and a library full of art books for guests to enjoy. The restaurant and bar feel like something out of 1001 nights, with a sumptuous, almost Oriental feeling. Candlelit dining, plush velvety pillows, and of course, top Catalan cuisine, make a night at the Neri's restaurant a must. If you want to be in the heart of Barcelona's historic center, then the Neri is your absolute best choice.

Contact Details

4* Hotel Neric, Barcelona
Sant Sever,
n. 5 (right behind the Plaza de St. Jaume)
Barcelona 08002,
Spain
Tel: +34 93 304 0655
Fax: +34 93 304 0337
www.hotelneri.com
[email protected]