1. Recommended Wine: Itsasmendi No.7, Basque Country, Spain
2. Winery Profile: Tapada dos Coelheiros, Alentejo, Portugal
3. Cellar Tours Day Excursions: Madrid Gastronomic Experience
4. Ultra Luxury Wine Tasting Tours: Tuscan Wine Connoisseurs Tour
5. Restaurant Review: La Galeria, Logroño- La Rioja, Spain
6. Hotel Highlight: La Villa, Mombaruzzo, Italy
7. City Profile: Siena, Italy
8. Gourmet Corner: Cavedoni Balsamic Acetaia, Modena, Italy
9. What’s in Season: Artichokes
10. Custom Designed Gourmet Tours in Spain, Italy and Portugal
Wine Tours Newsletter

What's New At Cellar Tours:

We were invited to speak at the annual Wine Tourism Conference “Destino Vino” in Logroño, La Rioja this past April, which was a fantastic experience. Our research development trips this year have taken us to Bologna and Emilia Romagna (Balsamic Vinegar Acetaias, Parma and Culatello ham producers, Parmigiano cheese agers and much more); to La Rioja and Priorat (to ever more boutique wineries and surprisingly fabulous restaurants); to Friuli in North-eastern Italy (watch out for our new routes to this gorgeous, undiscovered paradise for wine lovers); to Asturias in Northern Spain (Spanish cider and Cabrales cheese producers); to Langhe in Piedmont (where we found new cellars, castles cum wine shops, and stunning eateries); and Portugal (look out for new gourmet routes on our website). Contact us for more info!

Gourmet Photo Album

We have launched over 1,000 photos of our Luxurious Food and Wine Tours in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Check them out: Gourmet Photo Album...

Recent Press:

This past quarter we were delighted to be featured in Forbes Traveler (for our Helicopter tours to Priorat, our wine tours to Alentejo and our Gourmet tours in Piedmont), The Sunday Telegraph (UK, our ultra luxury private tours of Andalusia), The Irish Times (our Barcelona Luxury wine tours), and The Independent on Sunday (UK, our Prosecco Tours from Venice). You can also check us out in the newly launched Moon Handbook to Spain (by Candy Lee LaBalle), a fantastic travel guidebook to Spain.

1. Recommended Wine: Itsasmendi No.7, Basque Country, Spain

Itsasmendi Txakoli Wines

Itsasmendi Txakoli Wines

The up and coming Itsasmendi winery was founded in 1995 in the Basque town of Muskiz, an area famous for its traditional Txakoli wine. The winery was moved to the town of Guernika in 2002. Ana Martin, one of Spain´s most talented “flying” winemakers, is head winemaker here. The winery is making a range of wines including a truly unique late harvest Txakoli. The Itsasmendi No. 7 is their flagship wine, though. Made with Hondarabbi Zuri (indigenous grape in Basque Country) and Riesling (a grape being used more and more in this Atlantic terroir). Grapes are hand harvested and after fermentation, the wine rests on its lees for 10 months – 1 year before being bottled. The effect is a delicious and surprisingly complex dry white wine. The Hondarrabi Zuri gives the wine its refreshing acidity and the Riesling imparts floral and steely notes. Robert Parker gave this excellent value, hard-to pronounce- wine from this undiscovered wine appellation 90 points! We love this wine and recommend you try and get it from your local wine merchant if you are looking for something different. Sick of chardonnay? Try this Txakoli!

Our Rating: 92/100
Type:Dry white wine
Appellation:DO Bizkaiko Txakolina
Region:Vizcaya, Basque Country
Grape Varietals:Hondarrabi Zuri & Riesling
Pairing: Spanish Bellota Ham, Savoury Almonds

2. Winery Profile: Tapada dos Coelheiros, Alentejo, Portugal

Tapada dos Coelheiros, Alentejo, Portugal

Tapada dos Coelheiros, Alentejo, Portugal

The Alentejo is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered gems of a wine region in Europe, and the Herdade dos Coelheiros estate is one of the most fascinating. Known for their high-end dry reds and whites (their Tapada de Coelheiros Chardonnay regularly wins wine contests and is considered to be one of the best whites in Portugal), the estate is also home to major walnut production (100 hectares), a cute 9 bedroom B&B, a Cork forest and hunting grounds. Located nearby the tiny carpet making village of Arraiolos, the distinctive wine labels of Tapada de Coelheiros are actually inspired by the famous decorative rugs.


3. Cellar Tours Day Excursions: Madrid Gastronomic Experience

Madrid Gastronomic Experience

Pilar Latorre's Dramatic Culinary Presentations

We are delighted to offer an exciting new gourmet day experience in Madrid for food and wine lovers who are also interested in art, travel and fine living. Your day begins in the morning when your private chauffeured Mercedes and your private guide meet you at your hotel to sweep you off your feet for an entertaining gourmet day experience. Your chauffeur will drop you and your guide in the trendy Chueca/ Alonso Martinez quarter where you will enjoy a walking tour with a gourmet focus. Breakfast will be Aztec Hot Chocolate and Spanish pastries at a stylish choco shop. Carry on to visit a variety of shops including olive oil, cheese, organic honeys, wine and even a little culinary shops selling gourmet sea salts. Your walk will conclude at the beautiful private home of local high society personality Pilar Latorre, where she has a professional compact kitchen, separate cooking classroom, and lovely dining room where you will lunch with the chef herself and her charming Swiss husband, Rene.


4. Ultra Luxury Wine Tasting Tours: Tuscan Wine Connoisseurs Tour

Ultra Luxury Wine Tasting Tours, Italy

VIP Cellar Visits

If you consider yourself a wine connoisseur or even a wine lover and you want to experience the best wine country experiences that Tuscany has to offer, then this is the tour for you! You will spend a week visiting the best appellations in this gorgeous part of Italy. The tour begins and ends in Florence, and is a private chauffeured tour. You’ll spend your first night in Florence, home to Michelangelo, the Medici and some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Dine at Cibreo, Florence’s hottest restaurants for Foodies. From Florence, you’ll travel through the scenic wine country of Chianti Classico, quintessential Tuscany. Cypress lined narrow roads and medieval hill topped wine villages are the classic images of Chianti, very photogenic. You’ll visit top producers such as Badia a Coltibuono (whose winery is one of the most beautiful in Italy). Next on this fantastic wine tour is a visit to the exquisite Tuscan town of Siena, famed for its medieval Palio, the zebra striped duomo and its “holy wine” (Vin Santo) served with cantucci.


5. Restaurant Review: La Galeria, Logroño- La Rioja, Spain

La Galeria, Logroño, Spain

Creative Cuisine at La Galeria, Logroño

Restaurant La Galeria Saturnino
Ulargui, 5
Logroño, Spain

Tel: +34 941 20 73 66

This modern, elegant, yet curiously inviting restaurant opened its doors for the first time in 2005. The concept for this venue was the brainchild of two close friends, Chef Jose Felix Rodriguez, who worked in the kitchens of such noted Spanish culinary stars as Juan Mari Arzak and Ferran Adrià, and experienced master sommelier Raul Martinez, who together formed a true food and wine lover’s paradise. The philosophy that these gourmet professionals share is that you need to start with local tradition, followed by fresh ingredients, a creative imagination, then finish it off with a passion to satisfy the most discerning palette. This ideal is proven in spades as you feast on such delectable dishes as roasted leg of lamb with truffles, prawns with rice noodles in a mushroom sauce, or Monkfish in an olive oil and wine vinegar fusion, all carefully combined with Raul’s expert wine choices. For a very special evening out, book the private wine room, where you and up to eight guests can dine surrounded by Spain’s best vintages, attentive service and excellent gourmet cuisine.

By Jessica Benavides, Tour Director Spain

6. Hotel Highlight: La Villa, Mombaruzzo, Italy

La Villa, Mombaruzzo, Italy

Ultra Romantic

Located in the vineyard covered hills of Piedmont´s Montferrato region, La Villa is a gorgeous little restored palazzo run by the effervescent and friendly British couple Chris and Nicola. The couple spent 18 months renovating this palazzo from top to bottom and did an incredible job! It is our favorite hotel in the entire Piedmont wine country. This hotel is perfect for gourmet travelers as it is close to wineries, Michelin starred restaurants, grappa producers, and also medieval villages and pristine countryside. We have sent honeymooners to La Villa and it is just perfect, with romantic suites that offer views of the vineyards, clawfoot bath tubs, and peace and quiet. La Villa is tiny with 13 lovingly decorated rooms, pretty landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, a beautiful wine cellar, a covered pergola, a small excellent restaurant, and plenty of comfie common areas. Rooms are full of antiques, original flooring, natural colors and textures, a lot of light, luxurious touches and creature comforts (top quality bedding, minibar, internet, satellite tv, etc).

La Villa, Mombaruzzo, Italy

Exterior of this wonderful palazzo

La Villa Hotel
Via Torino, 7
Mombaruzzo, Italy

Tel: +39 0141 793 890

You have the sensation you are visiting good friends rather than staying at a hotel here. You might be invited to an impromtu barbecue or wine tasting, and you might just feel like ordering pizza in and getting your hosts to wrestle up a bottle of vintage Barolo for you. The pace is relaxed, sophisticated, and comfortable all at the same time. Chris and Nicola can organize wine tastings, cheese tastings, a romantic catered meal for two, and much more. Piedmont is home to Barolo, Barbaresco, Gavi, high end Grappa producers, Truffles, the Slow Food movement, a stunning array of farmhouse cheese producers- in short, gourmet paradise! And La Villa is absolutely perfect for food and wine lovers looking for a peaceful, elegant and romantic country hotel in Piedmont´s beautiful wine country.

7. City Profile: Siena, Italy

Piazza, Siena, Italy

Medieval Siena

Siena is one of Italy’s most captivating cities, with its concentration of medieval and gothic architecture and charming small town appeal. Located in Tuscany, about an hour south of Florence, Siena offers a treasure trove of art and architecture to the culture vulture, and fabulous food and wine for gourmet travellers. Siena has a fascinating history. As Rome, Siena has a foundation shrouded in legend. It’s said that the son of Remus, Senius, founded Siena. All around Siena you’ll see references to the she-wolf nursing Romulus and Remus. Historians theorize that the city was actually founded by the Etruscans. The Etruscans were an advanced culture in Italy who preceded the Romans. Archaeologists have found that the Etruscans used irrigation, sewage and drainage systems, all before the Romans. In fact the “cloaca maxima, “great sewer” of Rome is actually Etruscan. The first Roman roads, diversion channels and drainage systems were Etruscan. Interestingly, the Etruscans are also credited with introducing the architectural arch (used for bridges, gates, and vaulted alleyways).


8. Gourmet Corner: Cavedoni Balsamic Acetaia, Modena, Italy

Cavedoni Balsamic Acetaia, Modena, Italy

Historic Balsamic Vinegar Acetaia Cavedoni

The villages around Modena, in Italy´s gourmet epicenter of Emilia Romagna, are well known to Foodies for their Balsamic Vinegar producers. In the hamlet of Castelvetro, you will find the exceptional Balsamic Producer Antica Acetaia Cavedoni, run by the thoroughly charming Signore Paolo Cavedoni. Cavedoni is a family run small business that dates back to the 1860´s. The “Acetaia” (balsamic vinegar production area) is a treasure trove for gourmets! Paolo makes various condiments and traditional balsamics including 15/30/50/80 and 100 year old vinegars! The cellar is very cute with barrels in virtually every corner, and every size (depending on their age) in various types of wood (juniper, chestnut, oak, cherry wood, etc) and a corner with turn of the century family photographs- very quaint. For VIP gourmet clients, Paolo will organize a superb tour and tasting of Cavedoni´s best products from different “Condimentos” to their historic Traditional Balsamics, paired with different foods from strawberries, to ice cream, to aged Parmigiano to roast and raw peppers, sweet cakes- Cavedoni´s tasting is the best and most fascinating Balsamic tasting we have ever had the pleasure of doing. A visit here takes about 3 hours to include the extensive tasting. You´ll taste the one and only “Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.P” vinegars, putting any “balsamics” you have picked up at the supermarket to shame! Contact us for information on organizing a VIP visit to Cavedoni as part of your gourmet tour, and also the possibility of a Balsamic tasting in Florence.

9. What’s in Season: Artichokes

What’s in Season: Artichokes

Local Market, Rome

In restaurants from San Francisco to Barcelona to Rome, delicious artichoke dishes can be spotted on the menus from autumn to spring. The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family. The plant spreads to about 6 feet wide and about 4 feet high. This odd looking vegetable has a long history in Europe´s Mediterranean. Artichokes were cultivated by a variety of people from Ancient Romans and Greeks to the Moors in Spain´s Caliphates of Andalusia. The Spanish word for artichoke, “Alcahofa”, is actually an Arabic word and is a reference to the unusual leaves. The Greeks and Romans thought this funny looking veggie was an aphrodisiac. Artichokes were particularly prized by Rome´s Jewish community and the ancient recipe “Carciofi alla Giudia “ (Jewish style Artichokes) is one of the most typical (and scrumptious) recipes in Rome’s restaurants today. The Spanish colonists and priests brought the artichoke to California in the 17th century and Castroville, California is today the self-proclaimed "Artichoke Center of the World." A funny anecdote is that Marilyn Monroe was crowned “Artichoke Queen” in Castroville´s annual artichoke harvest festival in 1948. Artichokes can be stuffed, braised, fried, boiled and baked. They are delicious, healthy and low in calories, and part of the Mediterranean Diet.

Old poster of artichokes

Old poster of artichokes

Recipe- Rabbit with Artichokes and Bacon

Ingredients:(for 4 servings)

  • 300 gr. lean meat of rabbit
  • 100 gr. of bacon
  • 100 gr. of bread
  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 little branch of rosemary
  • 1 glass of milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 4 spoons of Extra-old traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • salt and pepper


Knead rabbit meat with rosemary, salt and pepper. add 50 grams of bacon, bread previously softened into milk), ¼ garlic clove and beaten egg whites. Put everything into the mixer and then a vegetable strainer in order to obtain a soft paste. By using two spoons make chenelle shapes and cook for 4 minutes turning them frequently. Meanwhile brown the remaining bacon with very little oil and cook the artichokes previously cut julienne shape.


Put the artichokes in the middle of the plate. Arrange rabbit chenelles like a star, add the bacon and finally add warm olive oil with rosemary perfume. Sprinkle with Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Chef- Bruno Barbieri - Locanda Solarola, Modena, Italy

10. Custom Designed Gourmet Tours in Spain, Italy and Portugal

Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Luxury Food & Wine Vacation Specialists

If you would like us to customize a luxury wine tour for you (in Spain, Portugal or Italy), contact us with your requirements, and we can send you a free itinerary and quote with no obligations.

We organize chauffeured wine tours and luxurious cooking vacations. Private tours, just for you....

Let us show you our favorite gourmet corners in Europe!

Cellar Tastings S.L.
Address: Infantas, n. 27, 3 Derecha,
28004 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 521 3939
Fax: +34 91 521 4757

Email: [email protected]

Contact us today!

CELLAR TASTINGS S.L. is a Fully Licensed and Bonded Tour Operator and Travel Agency, and a proud member of ASTA and the IACP.