Wines & Wonders of Northern Spain with Brian Carter Cellars

10 Days / 9 Nights $6,950 USD per person (double occupancy)

Wine tasting at boutique wineries representing the best of Northern Spain, including Tempranillo, Albariño and Ribera del Duero. Catamaran ride to see mussel harvesting, followed by tapas and wine. Visits to historic Galician villages along the famous Camino de Santiago. Blending your own Spanish wine. Journey into the French Basque region. Cider tasting at a charming and iconic cider house. Private visits to wineries at every stop, with curated tastings, tapas and paired meals. Accommodations at luxury hotels with cultural breakfasts included.

June 2-11, 2022 (10 days/9 nights)

Santiago – Albariño – Leon – La Rioja – San Sebastián – Biarritz


Hosted by Brian Carter, Owner/Winemaker and Karen Binder, Restaurateur/Culinary Advisor

Karen & Brian
BCC Logo
Why visit Spain with Brian Carter Cellars?
Wine is a metaphor for “the good life,” and at Brian Carter Cellars, they believe every bottle should help create memories, connect people, and enrich lives. Brian is a master at blending wine, and his untraditional approach is what makes his wines so special. A perfect example is Corrido, his Spanish blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha...and an unexpected touch of Franch Cabernet.
A perfect pairing with the tapas you'll enjoy throughout this journey. Spain is one of Brian & Karen’s favorite destinations, and they are delighted to invite you to share the best of Northern Spain’s wine and food with them.
Meet Brian Carter & Karen Binder of Brian Carter Cellars
Brian Carter & Karen Binder are the perfect pairing of Wine & Food. Partners for over 20 years, Brian and Karen have pooled their respective talents into making Brian Carter Cellars one of the most celebrated wineries in Washington state.
Brian, who is Owner & Winemaker, first began appreciating wines as an undergrad at Oregon State University where he discovered Oregon wines. He moved to California to study enology at UC Davis, honing his skills at Mount Eden Vineyard and Chateau Montelena. Brian’s first winemaking success came at Paul Thomas Winery where his 1983 Paul Thomas Cabernet outscored all competing wines. Among his many subsequent honors are 2015 Winery of the Year and 2021 Grand Vin award for the State of Washington.
Karen, Restaurateur & Culinary Advisor for Brian Carter Cellars, is a native New Yorker who came to Seattle and started a still- thriving catering company 41 years ago. She also owned a much-loved neighborhood French bistro and has taught cooking classes in Seattle, Hawaii and Italy. As Brian’s long-time partner, Karen provides much of the food for the varied events held in the tasting room.
INCLUDED:
  • 9 nights in first-class hotels, including daily breakfast and all taxes
  • Airport transfers from airport in Santiago de Compostela at start of trip and to San Sebastián or Biarritz airports at conclusion of trip.
  • Motorcoach transport throughout
  • 7 lunches with wines
  • 3 dinners with wines
  • Services of a tour manager
  • Local guides and entrance tickets as needed
  • Information folders
  • Mineral water on-board coaches
  • Tips for luggage, restaurants, drivers
  • All taxes
NOT INCLUDED:
  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance (Contact Wine Lovers Travel for quotes if you wish to purchase)
  • Tips to guides and drivers
  • Other meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Transfers to other airports not listed above
Day 1

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is one of Spain's most attractive cities, rich in atmosphere and tradition. A university city and a site of pilgrimage for over eleven centuries, it has been the site of dynamic exchanges of ideas and culture, a destination for many outsiders, and yet at the same time it represents an area of Green Spain - Galicia - which historically has been profoundly rural and conservative.
With your tour escort, visit the impressive Cathedral and its museum. The work on the Cathedral of Santiago, built to house the saint’s body, began in the 11th century and is Romanesque in style. Its most outstanding feature is the “Portico of Glory” with its beautiful stone carved statues. It is considered one of Europe’s marvels of Romanesque art. Then enjoy a stroll through the porticoed streets of the town. This evening, meet in the lobby of the Parador for your Welcome dinner followed by a Queimada, a traditional mystical fun drink after dinner.
INCLUSIONS:
  • Arrival in the airport of Santiago de Campostela. Transfer to the hotel for check-in.
  • Evening walking tour of Santiago and visit to the Cathedral.
  • Welcome dinner, followed by Queimada, a special after-dinner drink
  • Hotel: NH Collection Santiago de Compostela–Breakfast and taxes included
Santiago de Compostela Fun Drink
Day 2

Albariño

This morning, board the coach and depart south. Visit the village of Tui. The majestic town of Tui is the Spanish portal for the Portuguese St. James Route, 120 km. from Santiago, just far enough from Santiago to be able to obtain one’s credentials for walking the St. James Route.
Albariño is the main grape of the Denomination of Origen of Rias Baixas and one of the most known of Galicia. Its bunches and berries are small and they don’t exceed of 125 grams of weight, allowing for an early ripening. It is a sweet and lingering grape, with high levels of sugar and acidity which give the wines an amazing freshness. Traditionally cultivated in “emparrado”, it is one of the main symbols of Galicia.
In the Rías Baixas Denomination, most of vineyards are situated in close proximity to the sea. The soils are low-lying and are very deep, reaching at most 300 meters above sea level. This situation makes sandy and mineralized lands, especially granite and acids, that give the wine a little hint of saltiness.
After a brief visit in Tui, we will head to the Cellar Terras Gauda.
Terras Gaudas is located on the River Miño, in the province of Pontevedra. The Terras Gauda Group is composed of 4 wineries: Bodegas Terras Gauda, Viñedos y Bodegas Pittacum, Quinta Sardonia y Compañía de Vinos Heraclio Alfaro; as well as a Vegetable Canning Company known as Roasleira.
Terras Gauda Wineries were founded in the Valle de O Rosal, within the Rias Baixas Denomination of Origin in the Pittacum Winery, in the Bierzo Denomination of Origen, which was added in 2002. In 2010 the group included the Quinta Sardonia Group of the Duero Valley specializing in red wines, and in 2018 the expansion was completed with the acquisition of Heraclio Alfaro Wines of the Rioja region.
Our visit will begin with an introduction in the vineyard and then will proceed into the winery to learn about the elaboration of the wines, ending with a tasting of Terras Gauda y Abadía de San Campio Albariño wines.
From here we will head to the cellar Lagar de Cervera.
This is the largest estate-owned Albariño vineyard in Rias Baixas with an extension of 77 hectares. The unique microclimate allows for early ripening of the grapes, a benefit to Lagar de Cervera wines providing a perfect ratio of acidity, alcoholic strength and aromatic intensity. The wines produced are young, fresh, elegant whites that pair well with appetizers, shellfish or fish. The most modern facilities opened in 2013 and offer a unique decor, a spectacular forest depicted on the fermentation tanks.
Time permitting we may visit to a typical Pazo garden this day as well, prior to returning to Santiago.
INCLUSIONS:
  • All transportation and local guides
  • Visits and tastings to 2 wineries
  • Hotel: NH Collection Santiago de Compostela–Breakfast and taxes included
Albarino Cellar Terras Gauda Terras Gauda | Elaboration of the wines Lagar de Cervera Lagar de Cervera Modern Facilities
Day 3

Albariño (El Grove)

Today, we will visit a large more industrial cellar loved by many: Martin Códax
Bodegas Martín Códax was founded in 1986 and was named after the most known Galician troubadour whose medieval poems, the oldest of Galician-Portuguese language with the original music, are preserved. In the poems, the troubadour sings to love and to the sea of our coastline.
After this visit, we will continue to a more family run winery like Cabana das Bolboretas.
Cabana Das Bolboretas is the result of several generations of winegrowers putting all their effort and dedication in caring for the vineyard with great respect for the natural environment. Taking things slowly, waiting day by day for the grapes to reach the optimum degree of maturity to start their harvesting, always manually, taking care that each selected cluster meets the maximum sanitary and ripening conditions.
And to complete the day we will walk around one of the most beautiful villages in Galicia, Combarro, full of traditional elements like horreos (granaries), and bateas (wooden platforms for mussel farming) that a private catamaran will take us to learn about the process of cultivating mussels after which we will enjoy a great lunch with tapas and different wines.
After lunch, we will return to Santiago de Compostela.
Return to Santiago. Dinner on own this evening.
INCLUSIONS:
  • All transportation and local guides
  • Visits and tastings to 2 wineries
  • Catamaran ride to mussel farm, including tapas lunch paired with wine
  • Hotel: NH Collection Santiago de Compostela–Breakfast and taxes included
Martin Codax
Day 4

Santiago to Leon

Depart with our tour manager for Leon.
Enroute along the Camino de Santiago (famous Route or Way of St. James), we will include historic stops in the towns of Sarria and Astorga.
The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back over a thousand years to the year 813 AD. Teodomiro, the bishop of Iria Flavio (just outside Santiago de Compostela), informed King Alfonso II of Asturias that a tomb had been discovered containing the remains of the apostle Santiago (St. James). St. James had been decapitated in 44 AD in Jerusalem, but his followers had stolen the body and transferred it by boat to Spain, burying it at Iria Flavio. Once word was out that the remains of St. James had been found, a pilgrimage began to pay homage at this holy site. The Cathedral of Santiago, consecrated in 1128, stands over the tomb of the apostle and the faithful have been flocking there ever since, following a series of well-worn paths known collectively as the 'Camino de Santiago' which stretch across northern Spain.
The town of Sarria is one of the most important towns on the well-known French Route (beginning in St. Jean Pied-de Port) making this a prosperous and relevant nucleus in Galicia and an important starting point for those who wish to walk only the last 112 km to obtain their Compostela credentials. The most important monuments to visit in this town are the Convent of the Magdalena, founded in 1200 and the Cruceiro (or typical stone cross of the Way).
On leaving Galicia, we may make a short stop in the old Celtic village of O’Cebreiro to admire the thatched round houses known as Pallozas. From here we will drive into the Roman town of Astorga where we will visit the Bishop’s Palace built by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi, as well as the impressive Cathedral.
Lunch will be included in a local restaurant with wine. After lunch we will continue to Leon.
Dinner on own in Leon.
INCLUSIONS:
  • All transportation and local guides
  • Stops in 2 historic villages along the Camino de Santiago
  • Lunch paired with wine
  • Hotel: NH Collection Leon Plaza Mayor–Breakfast and taxes included
NH Collection Leon Plaza Mayor
Day 5

Leon

This morning, we will enjoy walking tour of Leon´s historic old quarter, to see the Cathedral of Leon which is one of the most relevant examples of the Gothic style in Spain. It was built on the site of previous Roman baths of the 2nd century which King Ordoño II converted into a palace 800 years later. The Cathedral was built between 1205 - 1301, the north tower and cloister were finished in the14th-century, and the south tower completed in 1472. It is best known for its stained glass windows. With at least 1,764 square meters of surface, most of it containing the original windows, it is one of the most extensive and best preserved collections of medieval stained glass in Europe.
From here we will continue to see the impressive Basilica of Saint Isidoro of Romanesque architecture it holds the remains of Saint Isidoro from 1063.The floor is laid out as a Latin cross. One of its most important features is the “Doorway of the Lamb” (Agnus Deis). Passing through this door the pilgrims of Santiago are forgiven their sins.
Lunch on own & afternoon free.
Dinner with wine at a local restaurant.
INCLUSIONS:
  • All transportation and local guides
  • Guided walking tour of Leon
  • Dinner at local restaurant paired with wine.
  • Hotel: NH Collection Leon Plaza Mayor–Breakfast and taxes included
Basilica of Saint Isidoro of Romanesque
Day 6

Leon to Rioja

Depart by motorcoach from Leon for La Rioja.
After checking into the hotel, depart by coach to the center of Laguardia for lunch with wines at a local restaurant. Los Pasajes or similar.
In the afternoon we will continue to visit Bodega Primicia in their organic vineyard Carravalseca where we will enjoy a tasting of their wines.
The Carravalseca wines are the fruit of organic vines that are the latest commitment of Bodegas Casa Primicia. This pioneer initiative has given its fruit in a very singular limited edition. These wines proceed from a magical and privileged environment, the Carravalseca Lagoon, a treasure of water and land. Carravalseca is one of the three wetlands in Laguardia, a natural heritage that should be protected and preserved. These are the most northerly wetlands endorheic lagoons in Europe.
Dinner on own this evening.
INCLUSIONS:
  • Motorcoach from Leon to La Rioja Lunch paired with local wines
  • Visit to organic vineyard with wine tasting
  • Hotel: Villa de la Guardia –Breakfast and taxes included
Laguardia The Carravalseca
Day 7

Rioja

This morning we will proceed to the Roda winery in Haro with a guided visit and a comparative tasting of 2 Riojas and 2 Ribera del Duero wines.
In the late 80’s, the new generation renews the vine and wine sector. Mario Rotllant and Carmen Daurella arrived in La Rioja with the firm intention of creating a project able to provide the world of winemaking with something new. This is how, in 1987, the fascinating, ambitious, exigent and unprecedented adventure began with Bodegas Roda, located in the edge of the river Ebro, in a balcony of the Railway Station District (Barrio de la Estación) in Haro, La Rioja, over a XIX century “calado”. The vine growers used to use the “calado” to stock their harvests before they were subsequently sent to Bordeaux by train to mitigate the damages caused by phylloxera.
Afterwards we will continue to Eguren Ugarte Winery where we will have a Family style lunch with their favorite wines paired to local specialty dishes.
In the afternoon we will tour the winery with 4.000 barrels placed in various rooms and with 2000 meters of caves carved into the rock. This is a winery that is buried in the land, created by Vitorino, the 5th generation of the Eguren Family.
And finally, we will have a tasting of their wines as well as a wine mixing session with winemaker. Dinner on own this evening.
INCLUSIONS:
  • Visits and tastings at 3 wineries
  • Winery lunch
  • Wine blending activity taught by winemaker
  • Hotel: Villa de la Guardia –Breakfast and taxes included
Roda Winery Eguren Ugarte Winery
Day 8

Rioja – San Sebastián

Check out of the hotel and meet the coach for your transfer to San Sebastián. San Sebastián is a city with a beautiful landscape and is truly a foodie’s paradise. Within this relatively small city, there are 16 restaurants that have earned a Michelin star. This makes San Sebastián the only city in the world with more Michelin-starred restaurants per square meter than any city in the world except Tokyo!
San Sebastián is a fashionable city mostly developed in the 19th century when the upper class would come to spend their summer vacations there. Enjoy a walking tour in the Old Quarter. After lunch visit the famous beach of La Concha, the monumental buildings, the church of Santa Maria and the charming old fishing port.
End your tour with a Pintxos or typical Basque lunch in the Old Quarter.
This afternoon, drive to the Basque Coast for a visit and tasting at a family run Txakoli vineyard. Along the coast on either side of San Sebastián are a number of towns with Txakoli vineyards and wineries. These towns comprise the Txakoli Route. Here, long-standing winemaking families open their doors to share their passion, tradition and, of course, their wine!
Txakoli is a delightfully refreshing local wine originally from the Basque farmhouses for daily use. It is also slightly effervescent which is why you’ll often see it poured from arm’s length, in order to enhance the bubbles. Pair it with San Sebastián’s specialties: seafood, Idiazábal (smoky sheep’s milk cheese) and cured meats. They say that there are four main factors that influence the quality of this wine: the soil, the sea, the climate and, most importantly, the Basque people. A hundred years ago, families would produce Txakoli in their country cottages for personal consumption. In fact, “txakoli” is Basque for “cottage wine.”
Dinner on your own in San Sebastián.
INCLUSIONS:
  • Motorcoach transportation to San Sebastián
  • Guided walking tour of Old Quarter and excursion to the beach
  • Pintxos or typical Basque lunch
  • Afternoon visit to a Txakoli winery, including tasting
  • Hotel: Arbaso – Breakfast and taxes included
San Sebastian Pintxos
Day 9

Excursion French Basque Country

This morning we will set out on a full day excursion to the French Basque Country including visit with tasting in Biarritz Market.
Lunch at cider house in the town of Ascain. Afterwards return to San Sebastián.
This evening, farewell dinner in San Sebastián at a Gastronomic Society or top local restaurant.
INCLUSIONS:
  • Full day excursion to Biarritz, in the France Basque region
  • Guided walking tour of Biarritz Market, including tastings
  • Lunch at a local cider house, including cider pairing
  • Farewell dinner in San Sebastián
  • Hotel: Arbaso – Breakfast and taxes included
French Basque Country Biarritz Market
Day 10

Departure

Group or individual transfers to the San Sebastián or Biarritz airports. Transfers to Bilbao airport take longer, cost extra.
Have Questions? Email Us or call us at (805) 701-7119
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