Rioja’s unique gift: Tempranillo Blanco

The spectacularly beautiful vineyards of Rioja are renowned for producing velvety-smooth reds from the Tempranillo grape, cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula for centuries. But there are also obscure treasures in Rioja that, until relatively recently, remained hidden from the eyes of the world. Step forward, if you please, Tempranillo Blanco. This is perhaps Spain’s most […]

A change of pace: Xarel-lo grape variety

Xarel-lo has been synonymous with sparkling wine for centuries. Cultivated in the hills of Penedès (south of Barcelona), it contributes vital structure and acidity to Cava and other sparkling wine styles like Corpinnat and Penedès Classic. As far as the winemaking community is concerned, most, if not all, of Spain’s greatest and most authentic sparkling […]

Comeback kid: Garnacha Blanca

Garnacha Blanca is one of Spain’s great revival stories. It’s a familiar tale: a once prolific variety fell out of fashion in the 20th century due to economic and cultural factors. Phylloxera certainly did the grape no favors; many Garnacha Blanca vines were not re-grafted in the early 1900s after Spain’s vineyards were devastated by […]

Una Sorpresa: Albillo grape variety

Spain is a chameleon. For wine lovers who seek familiar styles and much-loved classics, it offers velvety reds from Rioja and potent concoctions from Ribera del Duero. Sparkling wine aficionados take their pick from Cava, Corpinnat, and Conca del Rui Anoia, produced in spectacular vineyards located south of Barcelona. Fans of fortified have sherry, while […]

A Burgundy imitation: Godello grape variety

Spain has a longstanding global reputation for producing smooth and elegant red wines. Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Bierzo, and Priorat have become household names among collectors and Spanish enthusiasts looking for a taste of the Iberian Peninsula. Yet the nation’s talented winegrowers have not limited their ambitions to the color red. Modern Spain is all […]

Thrust into the spotlight: Albariño

For decades, white varieties from the Iberian Peninsula were an almost non-existent part of Europe’s restaurant scene. Wine lovers raved about silky reds from Rioja – they cheered the arrival of new vintages from Bodegas La Rioja Alta and Viña Tondonia. But fresh and fruit-driven white wines? They were noticeable by their absence. Thankfully, this […]

Verdejo’s journey to greatness

It has been described as Spain’s answer to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is not damning with faint praise! Once an unknown quantity in the arid plains of Castilla y León, Verdejo has been put on the international map. The acreage has been steadily increasing for years, reflecting the insatiable global demand for saline and […]

Guide to Portuguese Red Wine

Thirty-five years ago, Portugal was overwhelmingly associated with one signature wine style: port. In the eyes of many consumers, fortified wines and gallons of sun-kissed Mateus rosé were the totals of the nation’s viticultural output; many bottles were enjoyed on vacation, only to be quickly forgotten. Isolated behind Spain on the Atlantic fringe, collectors and […]

Weird and wonderful: Sousão/Vinhão

There is no paucity of esoteric and obscure red grapes in Portugal. On the contrary, it is a fundamental part of the country’s massive appeal; you come to the Iberian Peninsula to taste wines you won’t find anywhere else. Portugal is a land of original flavors and difficult-to-pronounce grape varieties. There are few destinations quite […]

Pride and perseverance: Tinta Amarela

First, let’s deal with the drawbacks: Tinta Amarela is not famous, iconic, or world-renowned. Indeed, few wine lovers outside of Portugal have even heard of this native red grape. To put it mildly, growing is also extremely difficult, requiring constant care and attention throughout the season. Viticulturally, it is far more temperamental than Touriga Nacional, […]

A national landmark: Touriga Nacional

Every wine-producing nation requires a flagship grape variety. It is a signature style to call its own, used to heighten awareness and recognition across international markets. So new Zealand has Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Argentina has Mendoza Malbec. But what about Portugal, the land of endless indigenous varieties and esoteric gems? Does this country offer […]

A minor giant: Tinta Cão

The attention and reverence directed towards Tinta Cão can sometimes baffle newcomers to Portugal’s wine scene. The vine crops at very low yields, ensuring that economically-led growers cannot afford to get involved with the variety. It also lacks the depth of color of Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional – as a very late-ripening grape, producers […]

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Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Cellar Tours is a Luxury Travel Specialist, operating since 2003 and offering exclusive Mercedes chauffeured Gourmet Vacations in Chile, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. We specialize in luxurious custom designed vacations, events and incentives related to food and wine. We are proud members of Slow Food, UNAV (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals).

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