Index

1. Recommended Wine: Dominio de Tares, Bierzo
2. Winery Profile: Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania
3. Wine Tasting Tours: Taormina and Mount Etna Wine Weekends
4. City Profile: Hondarribia, Spanish Basque Country
5. Hotel Highlight: Aquapura, Douro Valley Wine Country
6. Restaurant Review: Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa Maria
7. Culinary Tours: Gourmet Grand Tour of Italy
8. Gourmet Corner: Rare Whiskey Tastings, Guernika
9. What’s in Season: Chili Peppers
10. Cocktail Recipe: Rebujito, Andalusia
Wine Bottle

What's New At Cellar Tours:

Without further ado, and after so many requests from our clients the past few years, we are delighted to announce our new luxury wine tours in France. Expect to see many new exciting itineraries being added to our web from Paris and Champagne, Provence and the Rhone, Burgundy to Bordeaux, to French Basque Country. Our research trips over the last nine months have been frequent and varied, and we have discovered some new gems to include in our itineraries for you. We were invited to speak at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Jerez de la Frontera and found some great wineries while there. Other trips in Southern Spain included the wine country around gorgeous Ronda (which hosted the Wine Creator Symposium last April, hosted by Spanish wine guru José Peñín and attended by the world´s top wine critics like Jancis Robinson). Tragabuches was an amazing restaurant find in Ronda. We stayed at some newly inaugurated Spanish Parador hotels including the fabulous new spa hotel in the Royal Gardens of La Granja, near Segovia.

Our most recent research trip to France was in Champagne, what amazing places we found for you! In Italy, we have found new private cooking classes in Rome and the Lazio countryside; designed new chocolate and vermouth tours in Turin; and found some very charming new wineries in the Veneto, for our new Veneto Connoisseurs Tour. Our biggest addition to the Italian collection of wine tours is Sicily, and we have many exciting options for luxury private tours throughout the island as well as the breathtaking Aeolian Islands. And finally, we have joined the Blog generation, and launched a new blog as a way of providing even more food, wine and travel info for our customers. Our blog features events, festivals, and general travel notes from around Europe. Enjoy!

Recent Press

We were excited to be included in various magazines and newspapers over the last few months such as the Sunday Business Post (Ireland), Modern Bride (USA), La Dolce Vita Magazine (UK), and Travel Trade (USA).




1. Recommended Wine: Baltos, Dominio de Tares, Bierzo

Baltos, Dominio de Tares, Bierzo

Dominio de Tares Winery

The northwest Spanish wine region of Bierzo was for years a best-kept secret. This beautiful lush region is little known and still very off the beaten path. You hit Bierzo on the way to Galicia after heading west from Leon. The area is characterized by gentle rolling hills and a collection of historic churches and medieval villages (Bierzo is on the Saint James Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela). The wines are mainly red and mainly based on the indigenous Mencia grape. Much international attention was given to Bierzo when wine superstar Alvaro Palacios (Ermita, Priorat) began a new venture in Bierzo, and suddenly wine journalists everywhere (Tanzer, Parker, etc) were enamoured. Dominio de Tares is considered to be one of the flagship cellars of note and the Baltos wine is a perfect wine for your summer barbecues. On the nose you´ll get cherries and summer fruits and on the palate you get rich red berries with nuances of chocolate. Aged in French and American oak for approx 6 months, this is a soft red wine (not a monster) but with enough backbone to stand up to food.

Wine Style:dry red wine
Appellation: DO Bierzo
Region:Bierzo, Spain
Grape Varietals:100% Mencia
Pairing:Lamb, Barbecue, aged Spanish Manchego cheese

More on Dominio de Tares Winery

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2. Winery Profile: Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania

Feudi di San Gregorio Winery, Campania

Feudi di San Gregorio Winery

Campania is one of Italy’s most interesting regions. You will find Naples (birthplace of the modern pizza), the Amalfi Coast and Capri, Buffalo Mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes here, not to mention the ancient archeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum. Campania is also home to some of the most elegant and interesting wines being made in Europe. Feudi di San Gregorio is without a doubt, one of the best wineries in Italy. Located near Sorbo Serpico, the multi-million euro estate is stunning. The winery houses a top restaurant, with Heinz Beck as executive chef (of 3 Michelin starred La Pergola fame, in Rome), and a stylish wine bar. The wine shop is reminiscent of a Napa Valley estate, with an assortment of wines and gourmet products on offer. And now to the wines- divine! Feudi di San Gregorio pride themselves on their fine wines made with indigenous Campania grape varietals such as Falanghina, Fiano and Grecanico for the whites and the noble Aglianico for the reds. They are also making high-end sparkling wines now with Italian flying winemaker Riccardo Cotarella and cult French champagne winemaker Anselme Selosse. These wines have caught the eyes of worldwide wine critics, and have further established the winery as one Italy’s leading estates.

More on Feudi di San Gregorio Winery...

More on Luxury Amalfi Coast Wine Tours...




3. Wine Tasting Tours: Taormina and Mount Etna Wine Weekends

Sicilian Grapes

Sicilian Grapes

Ask anyone in the wine business in Italy what Sicily’s best wine region and without a doubt, they will all agree that Etna is “the” up and coming area. Even other Sicilian wineries not in Etna are investing heavily in planting vineyards here, such as Planeta. The vines are scattered in and around the volcanic soils of Mount Etna on the Eastern side of the island. Exciting wineries include Benanti, Cottanera and the buzz worthy Il Cantante wine (made by mythical Salvatore Fota, and owned by the singer of Simply Red). North of Mount Etna, you will find the beautiful town of Taormina, perched over the sea and one of the loveliest spots in Italy. We have designed these luxurious long weekends for those of you who love food and wine, but also want to sleep in style and enjoy a relaxing, luxurious tour with your own private chauffeur. You will stay in Taormina and enjoy a gourmet walking tour, Mercedes chauffeured wine tasting tour of Etna, and visit the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina...

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4. City Profile: Hondarribia, Spain

Hondarribia, Spain

Hondarribia, Spain

Spain’s Basque Country is one of our favorite places on earth. For such a small region, it has an amazing number of ultra gourmet hotspots (there are more Michelin stars per capita in San Sebastian, for example, than in Paris!); lush green scenery, cutting edge architecture (like the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry) and above all, charming seaside villages. Hondarribia (also seen on some maps as “Fuentarrabia”) is a particularly pretty village and has a “French” feel to it with its painted wooden shuttered houses, reminiscent of Normandy or Alsace. The town offers a very looked after historic center, a tidy port with colorful fishing boats and a 10th century converted castle (now a Parador hotel). There are some great rustic eateries here to try traditional Basque Cuisine, heavy on the seafood and Txakoli wines. Hondarribia is an easy excursion from San Sebastian or even Biarritz in France, and highly recommended!

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5. Hotel Highlight: Aquapura, Douro Valley Wine Country, Portugal

Aquapura Hotel, Douro Valley

Aquapura Hotel, Douro Valley

Aquapura Douro Valley
Quinta de Vale Abraao, 5100 Lamego
Douro Valley, Portugal

Tel: +351 21 360 00 50
www.aquapurahotels.com
[email protected]

The beautiful Douro Valley in Northern Portugal, land of Port wine, is a capitvating region. It’s vast and beautiful and seemingly untouched by time. This has been a good and a bad thing for wine loving tourists as hotels and restaurant choices have traditionally been very limited in Douro. There was a time when there was nowhere to stay in the region beyond simple B&Bs. Then came Vintage House, now a modern classic. But even Vintage House was a bit too classic for some, and not quite luxurious for others. Along comes the recently inaugurated Aquapura, taking the Douro by storm. Set in a pretty historic manor in the vines, the exterior disguises the surprising ultra modern and ultra luxury interior.

The Aquapura Hotels & Spa is a new company and this is the first hotel in their portfolio, with others set to follow in Brazil and Europe. The concept is luxurious zen, relaxation, food and wine. This is the perfect retreat hotel and a wonderful base to have during a wine tour of the Douro. There are 41 exquisitely decorated rooms, 9 suites, and 21 private villas. Views from your room could be of the historic cloisters and the mighty Douro River, with vineyards completely surrounding the hotel. There are two wonderful restaurants on site- “Almapura” is the super high end and romantic gastronomic eatery, “Vale d’ Abraão” is the more casual option. And finally, you cannot stay here without indulging in the spa treatments! The philosophy is East meets West; a fusion of Ancient Asian rituals and scientific Swiss techniques, and all with products sourced locally such as grapes. Bem-vindo Aquapura!




6. Restaurant Review: Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa Maria

Ángel León, Spanish Chef

Ángel León, Spanish Chef

Aponiente Restaurant
6 Calle Puerto Escondido,
El Puerto de Santa Maria,
Spain

Tel: + 34 956 851 870
[email protected]
www.aponiente.com

We first discovered chef Ángel León at his Casa del Temple restaurant in Toledo, a few years back. Our first impression of him personally, even apart from his craft was that he had major star power. Ángel is charismatic, dramatic, passionate, highly skilled and creative- all of the prerequisites to become an internationally famous chef. Spain has for the last decade become a hotbed of innovative cuisine, with super chefs like Ferran Adrià (of Best restaurant in the World, “El Bulli” fame) and Juan Mari Arzak always pushing the bill with unique gastronomic inventions and “deconstructions”. Madrid for the last few years has hosted the Madrid Fusión-International Gastronomic Summit and it was this platform that Ángel Leon used to catapult himself into culinary stardom. Ángel decided to head back to his native Andalusia, and started a high-end creative tapas bar “El Tambuche” in El Puerto de Santa Maria, within the Sherry Triangle. This was a good way for Ángel to center himself and his art and prepare for a bigger project to come- Aponiente. Aponiente is an elegant and beautiful restaurant, also in El Puerto, where Angel (AKA “Chef del Mar”) now showcases his creative seafood. The restaurant is a massive success and has taken this quiet and traditional town by surprise, with foodies arriving on gastro pilgrimages from around the world. Highly recommended.




7. Culinary Tours: Gourmet Grand Tour of Italy

Gourmet Grand Tour of Italy

Gourmet Grand Tour of Italy

For some time we have had the idea of creating a Gastronomic “Grand Tour” of Italy, but where to begin, when the entire country is so interesting from a food and wine point of view? We focused on some of our favorite wine regions and culinary highlights and created this twelve-day route of Northern Italy (so we should probably call this a Grand Tour of the North, and we should get to work next on a Southern Italy Gourmet Grand Tour!). The private chauffeured tour begins and ends in Milan and takes in a simply fantastic range of food, wine, scenery and sightseeing. You´ll see how and where Balsamic Vinegar is made, visit a Culatello ham cave (the crème de la crème prosciutto), take in a Parmigiano cheese production tour. Taste Amarone wines in the peaceful Valpolicella, and unique local wines in the castles of Piacenza, not forgetting tastings of Italy’s best bubbly in Franciacorta. While in the north, you can’t miss Italy’s beautiful “Art Cities” of Venice and Verona, Bologna and Ferrara, and more. Ancient mosaics in Ravenna and a relaxing visit to Lake Como are also included. While in Emilia Romagna, you´ll also be able to check out the Galleria Ferrari, a non-gourmet treat…

More on this Culinary Tour of Italy...




8. Gourmet Corner: Rare Whiskey Tastings in Guernika

Whiskey Tastings

Whiskey Tastings

Scanlan´s Tavern,
Karlos Gangoiti 19 – 1,
Gernika - Lumo 48300
Bizkaia, Spain

Tel: +34 946 270 885
scanlanstavern.blogspot.com
[email protected]

Guernica (called “Gernika” in Euskera, the Basque language) is a small but very important town to Basques. Immortalized by Picasso in his painting Guernica (which was painted after the nazi bombing raids on the civilian population during the Spanish Civil War), it is also home to the "Arbol Foral", a tree which has been renewed over the centuries and symbolizes Basque self-rule. Guernica is also next to the beautiful Urdaibai biosphere reserve. And as a complete surprise, you will find Spain´s most famous “whiskey sommelier” here in Guernica. Patrick Scanlan, Publican and Irish whiskey crusader, married a local Basque woman and set about establishing a "Whiskey Shebeen" an Irish whiskey dedicated bar hosting an enormous collection of fine rare Irish whiskies. A VIP rare whisky tasting is offered for private tastings and includes a wide range of styles such as Deluxe, Pot Still & Single Malts with goodies like, Jameson 12 yr, Blackbush, Bushmills 10 yr malt, The Tyrconnell malt, Connemara malt. The tasting includes a structured tasting, sensory evaluation, history & folklore segment, along with comments on Whiskey Heritage. This is an unconventional and fun addition to a gourmet tour in Northern Spain!




9. What’s in Season: Chili Peppers

What’s in Season: Chilli Peppers

Chilli Peppers

Summer is a glorious time for new seasonal fruits and vegetables. Mangos and melons, sweet peppers and summer squash are all appealing seasonal foods, and who doesn’t crave watermelon once the warm days arrive? One of our favorite summer goodies are chili peppers, we have fiery taste! Called Chili, Chile or Chilli, the origin of the name comes from a Native American (Nahuatl) word “chīlli” and becomes chile in Spanish. This hot little pepper has been consumed by humans for over 6000 years, originating in the Americas. Now, chilis are an important culinary ingredient in countries around the world. We all know chilis are an integral part of Mexican, Thai and Indian cuisine, but did you know they are also used in Spain (“Guindillas”), Italy (“Peperoncini”) and even in France (“Poivron Pimenté)? In Italy, in the southern region of Calabria, there is an entire village dedicated to Chili production, called “Diamante”. It´s a dream come true for chili lovers. All of the local businesses seem to have Chili Fever, and gravitate around the chili biz. There is even a “Miss Chili” beauty contest (called “Miss Peperoncino”) during the Chili Festival in late August/early September. Some fun ways to include chilis in your summer dinner parties- “Gambas al Ajillo” (shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil and sliced chili) and Penne Arrabbiata (“Angry Pasta”, made with penne, fresh tomato, oregano, and a healthy pinch of chili powder). Buon appetito!




10. Cocktail Recipe: Rebujito, Andalusia

Rebujito Cocktail

Manzanilla, ingredient of the Rebujito

Rebujitos are “the” cocktail at Southern Spain’s myriad “Ferias”, “Rocios” and “Fiestas”. They are the Spanish equivalent of a white wine spritzer. Low in alcohol, the Rebujito consists of Manzanilla sherry wine and Sprite or Gaseosa (white lemonade). Ordered by the pitcher and served in the “Fino” wine glasses, it is gleefully consumed by the bucket load during the fiestas. Rebujitos are simple and refreshing and can keep you flamenco dancing all night long, without falling over blind drunk. Perfect for warm, summer nights and Spanish tapas style dinners and barbecues.

Recipe

  • Manzanilla or Fino wine (La Guita, Tio Pepe, La Gitana, etc)
  • Sprite, Seven Up or Gaseosa
  • Ice
  • Lemon to garnish

Mix two parts wine with 1 part soda and shake over ice. Garnish with lemon slices and if you like it a little sweeter, mix in a dash of sugar. Turn on the Flamenco music and enjoy!

11. Custom Designed Gourmet Tours in Spain, Italy, France and Portugal

Tempranillo grapes on vine

Vineyards in the Autumn

If you would like us to customize a luxury wine tour for you (in Spain, France, 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]
Web: www.CellarTours.com

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.