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Jul 17

Ashford Carbonel Wine Group

A taste of Portugal and Spain

The group left Ashford Carbonell on Sunday May 7th 2017 and travelled by coach to Plymouth for the overnight ferry crossing to
Santander in Spain.
The first night in Spain was spent at the Parador in Tordesillas where there was time to relax or have a swim before dinner. On reaching Portugal, a wine tasting with lunch was enjoyed at Quinta do Portal in the upper Douro region before reaching our hotel situated overlooking the river Douro at Peso da Regua, for a stay of three nights. From Regua the group had visits and tastings to wineries at Aveleda, where we had a tapas lunch with wines from the estate and Seixo, situated on the high banks of the Douro with spectacular views of the river and the village of Pinhao. Here we sampled Sanderman ports. We also visited Mateus Palace and Gardens and Lamogo, a pilgrimage city, amid beautiful scenery and views of the valleys, hills and the river. We spent two days in Oporto, a world heritage site, where we had a guided tour of the City and the ‘six bridges’ cruise on the river to see Oporto and Nova de Gaia where the port lodges are situated. Tastings of port at Taylors and Calem lodges were included, together with a performance of ‘Fado’ music.
On the return journey to Spain, through beautiful scenery, we stopped at a small roadside Asador for lunch where the excellent ‘menu del dia’ was much appreciated! An overnight stop was made at the Parador in Zamora, situated in the historic old city. This caused a few problems for our driver the police gave permission for the coach to travel through the narrow old streets to the beautifully converted former citadel hotel).

The next day we travelled to Logrono, the capital of Le Rioja Region, first stop at Bodegas Farina in Toto for a wine tasting with local cheeses and meats, then onto Burgos for free time for lunch and sightseeing before arriving at our hotel for two nights. The following day the group explored the small hillside village of Laguardia before enjoying a visit and excellent lunch with wine tasting at Bodegas ‘Marques de Caceres’. This was the groups third visit to the Bodegas and we were welcomed as ‘old friends’!!!!

We left Logrono for Santander calling at Bodegas Vina Real CVNE for a visit and tasting at a very modern and spectacular building. This was our final tasting and everyone was impressed by the building and the wines. We then travelled to Bilbao, arriving in time for lunch and the Guggenheim Museum.

We sailed from Santander in the evening and the group had a ‘Farewell Dinner’ on board the ferry to mark the end of a successful tour. We arrived in Plymouth on Thursday May 18th at 16.00 and had a good journey home to Shropshire.

As usual the tour was brilliantly organised by Rita Davies and was much enjoyed by all the group.
Next year the group plans to visit either the Mosel/Moselle Region (Germany ) or Veneto Region (Italy) in April 2018
If anyone is interested in joining the tour they would be welcome.