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Archive for the ‘Wine touring in Spain’ Category

Wine Regions of Spain

All the world’s greatest wine regions share one aspect in common: they are married to a grape or grapes that ripen slowly and exhibit differentiated and sometimes fascinating flavors in differing microclimates within that region.

We’re not sure why slow ripening makes for so many of the world’s great wines, but it does. Hot climates rarely accomplish such slow ripening, so Spain should be incapable of making great wine, right? Well, the popular view of Spain as an arid and hot place is not mistaken, just incomplete. It might be hot in many of Spain’s vineyards, but not for very long. The temperature at night often plummets, and the daylight can be slow to warm the vines.

Elevation is the explanation. Spain is an elevated plateau; little of Spain is at sea level, and while some of the vineyards are as flat as Kansas, many are nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. Many great vineyards are nestled into the creases of mountains. In the Sierra Nevada, along the southern coast, mountains such as Pico Mulhacén jolt up out of the Mediterranean Sea and reach a height of over 10,000 feet less than 30 miles from the shore.

Each of the Spanish wine regions can be defined in its elevation and in its proximity to the ocean or the sea. Some wine authorities prefer to break Spain’s geography into its autonomous regions, but that’s less likely to lead to a more thorough understanding of the places, vineyards, grapes, and styles of the wines of Spain. Rather, the country can be broken into the following climatic categories:
Green Spain

The northern and northwestern portion of Spain, exposed to the northern Atlantic, can be cool to cold, wet, and green—thus its name, España Verde. The sheltering fortification of the Cordillera Cantábrica, looming above Rioja, is unavailable to much of Green Spain as it stretches from Galicia to the Pyrenees. The regions of Ribeiro, Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras, and Bierzo enjoy pockets of protection from the cool, sometimes cold, and often wet coastal influences; Rías Baixas, unfortunately, bears the full force of Atlantic weather. Western Green Spain regions tend to produce high–acid white wines from tart, relatively unripe grapes, while sites in the Pyrenees generate shockingly bracing white wines under the rubric of Txakoli.
North Central Spain

The seat of power for much of Spain’s history, this area hosts extremely elevated but easily workable vineyards along and beyond the banks of the Duero River. Some of the famed wine names in Spain reside in Ribera del Duero, such as Vega Sicilia and Pesquera, and regions such as Toro and Rueda are on the shortlists of anyone pursuing emerging Spanish brands.

Ebro River Valley

The Sierra de Cantábria mountains shelter some of Spain’s most important vineyards, including those in Rioja and Navarra. Farther south, Calatayud, Campo de Borja, and Cariñena offer great value. To the east, vineyards nestled along the base of the foothills of the Pyrenees hold vineyards as well, where tributaries of the River Ebro nurture the vineyards of DO Somontano and the rare Moristel grape that charms many tasters with its tangy fruit and easy ways, along with more muscular Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other red varieties.

The Meseta

The “tabletop” that represents the center of the elevated plateau that is Spain is not a uniformly flat, hot, and arid place. Instead, there are significant mountainous spots that offer the possibility of making high–quality wines, based upon strong differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures (grapes seem to like diurnal temperature swings). The northern piece of the Meseta lies in Castilla y León. The southern portion of the Meseta, Castilla–La Mancha, is producing striking wines based upon dramatic diurnal temperature swings, and even more importantly, remarkably old and healthy vineyards.

The Mediterranean Coast

The warmth of the coast from the French border to Almería can be mitigated by high altitudes, whether in Cataluña or in Valencia. Throughout most of this area, world–class wines are appearing in places such as Priorat and Montsant, as well as established areas such as Penedés. Cava, the most famous sparkling wine in the world after Champagne, makes its home near Barcelona.
Andalucía

With temperatures easily surpassing 100°F in the summer, this is an area ideal for fortified and dessert wines. Everything conspires to make a singularly successful fortified wine that comes in a plurality of styles. Although we call all of them Sherry, each of these styles—Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez—expresses a unique set of aromas and flavors.

With the Canaries off in the Atlantic and the Balearics lying in the middle of the Mediterranean, both groups of islands enjoy temperatures that are relatively moderate, especially in the sometimes remarkably elevated areas.

Make no mistake, these divisions defined above must make the Spanish crazy: a country barely held together for much of its existence doesn’t take kindly to this American gerrymandering. We hope the producers, growers, vintners, consejos reguladores, and bureaucrats who are responsible for these brilliant wines will forgive our tinkering. We think non–Spanish readers will be able to learn more by viewing Spain’s DOs through the prism of climate, geography, and morphology rather than through political divisions.

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The Wine Colours organizes public wine tours from Barcelona to Penedes wine region (45 minutes from Barcelona) on saturdays from September to November. Our mission is to offer the possibility to those individuals who love wine and gastronomy, to join a group of people with the same interests.

The Barcelona wine coach will pick up you at your hotel from 9:00 to 9:30am and will arrive at Cataluña Square by 5.00pm.

The Barcelona wine coach is limited to 6 guests to ensure a personalized service. A full experience that will activate all your senses for only 155€ per person all included (transportation, guide, 2 winery visits with wine tasting and gourmet lunch).

Available dates (Saturdays) :

September 10 and 17
October 8,15,22
Novembre 5, 12

See the complete itinerary

More information at info@thewinecolours.com

Hope you enjoy it!

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We are really happy to see the success of our last wine tour “Spanish gastronomy and Dali”. The tour is a mix of food and wine combined with Dali’s world and was created to show a new face of the Costa Brava area, recognized internationally for its fantastic beaches and small towns.

Gastronomy and Dali tour

In this case it was for a group of 22 Swedish people. The first part of the tour was in Girona. The group was accommodated at a cosy hotel in Girona old town (2 nights) and they spent 2 marvellous days visiting Dali museum, Portlligat and Pubol (Gala’s Castle). Visits were combined with gourmet dinners at selected restaurants and also with a visit to the Rodes Monastery.

 

The second part of the tour (2 nights) were in an exclusive hotel in Barcelona and the group enjoyed our Spanish tapas, a flamenco show and a free day for shooping.

 

We hope to repeat it very soonGastronomy and Dali tour!

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The Priorat county celebrates its annual Wine Fair usually during the first weekend of May

It is dedicated to the two wine appellations of the county, the DOC Priorat and the DO Montsant. In 2008 the fair was moved to the castle area of Falset (Castell dels Comtes de Prades) which will soon be opened as a wine interpretation centre for the two wine appellations of the region. The wineries involved offer tastings of their wines in exchange for tasting tickets which can be purchased at the fair in the information tent. There are also parallel events taking place over the long weekend such as conferences, talks. wine-tasting courses, cooking contests, wineries opening up for visitors, guided olive oil tastings, wine and food pairings etc..

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Join us on December 30th  in our minivan up to 9 people and enjoy a unique full day wine tour to Penedes wine region (45 minutes from Barcelona) and meet other wine enthusiasts!

You will learn about the local history and geography that makes The Penedès such a popular destination for wine lovers and foodies all over the world.

We will visit two traditional wineries and will enjoy a private wine tasting for the small group. Wine cellars visited : Pares Balta and Albet i Noya (organic wines).

For complete information and sign up please visit http://bit.ly/dBL77B

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Priorat wine regions Siurana

Siurana

It all began with wine. In 1989, a group of wine connoisseurs visited the Priorat, an impoverished, untamientos rural area inland from Tarragona, in the Spanish province of Catalonia.They had heard of the region’s unique conditions for growing grapes, although the wine being produced was unrefined and usually sold in canisters rather than bottles.

The group was led by René Barbier, the veteran winemaker from La Rioja. The others were Álvaro Palacios, also the son of winemakers in La Rioja; Carles Pastrana, a Spanish journalist and wine lover from Tarragona; and Daphne Glorian, a Swiss-French lawyer. With them was Josep Lluis Perez, a local professor of enology and founder of the Enology School in Falset, the Priorat’s capital. They must have liked what they saw, for each started buying land, rehabilitating old vineyards, planting new ones, and making wine under names such as Clos de l’Obac, Clos Erasmus and L’Ermita that have since elicited praise from wine pundits all over the world.

“We don’t deserve any merit,” Mr. Palacios says. “The merit is all with the Priorat. If we went there, it was because of the quality of the wine. When I first tried it, it was like a diamond in the rough. The area has an exclusive personality. It’s so beautiful and at the same time so difficult; it requires a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.”

Dominated by the impressive, flat-topped mountain range of the Montsant natural reserve, the landscape is rough and striking. Vineyards and olive groves cover the terraced slopes that rise from unblemished valleys. The medieval villages dotting the hilltops have escaped the urban atrocities committed on the nearby coast. And the wine is produced in a traditional manner, with grapes picked by hand and irrigation systems rare. The Priorat feels like a remnant from another age that has been magically preserved in these mountains.

“It’s the reverse of glitz and party. The Priorat is for people who are looking for an active, mentally  estimulating and physically rewarding holiday.’”

Priorat wines

“When we first arrived, some people wanted to innovate, introduce new types of grapes and change the cultivation system,” Mr. Palacios recalls. “They were disappointed. We found centuries’ worth of wine-growing tradition, and people were doing it this way because it worked. So the traditional methods are being preserved, even though it sometimes means using horses instead of tractors. But the mentality here is to preserve.”

To read full article: Priorat at the Wall Street Journal

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This long weekend  we have travelled  to Priorat to have the pleasure to enjoy this land again  and its beautiful landscapes, visit some cellars, as Clos de l´ Obac.

We have been accommodated  at Mas Ardevol, typical Masia sorrounded by nature for quietness lovers. Mas Ardevol is located between Porrera and Falset. main wine towns.

Mas ardevol  a part  from offering a warm welcome and cosy accomodation  for couples or families offers a  full  handmade daily breakfast  based on the traditional products of the area. Also offers  the possibility to  have  a gourmet dinner  at the Masia( prevous reservation).

We have eaten at two   Restaurants in Falset:  Celler de L´Aspic, a classic one , innovative  cuisine,  great service  and wide range of wines ( Priorat and Montsant mainly), and  La Vizzeria , a fresh and quality option  to  enjoy a dinner or lunch with children . They have also a  fantastic list of wines  classified  by town  and winemaker.

Hope this  wil be useful for readers travelling to Priorat.

Thanks for following us!

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