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Basque Experiences discover more of La Rioja

New La Rioja Wineries for 2018-19

As a Basque Country DMC and travel agency, we are always on the lookout for new product, people and activities to offer our clients. La Rioja offers a fantastic  variety of different experiences, and we have to keep up to speed on all of them!

It sounds like a really easy job, visiting wineries and driving around wine country, but believe me, we are doing it for you!

Modern and traditional

Developing relationships with all kinds of winemakers is fundamental. It means we can offer the best options to our clients. Small producers like Bodegas Tobelos in Briñas, who make around 200,000 bottles a year, and only crianzas and reservas. To the larger Valdemar or Bodegas Faustino, both famous internationally that produce millions of bottles.

Our visits took us to Bodegas Izadi, who along with fantastic wine give us the opportunity to be able to offer gastronomic experiences as well. Really special, tailor-made basque experiences!! In the village of Cenicero, is situated the historic and truly spectacular Bodegas Riojanas. Their superb installations, and excellent wine make for a fascinating contrast to the smaller, ‘garage’ bodegas.

Basque Wine Tours

At Basque Experiences we  will tailor-make your visit to La Rioja. Be you a small private family group, or an agency looking for a trusted DMC, with personalised attention. Its not all tasting wine you know!!

 

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Destination Pamplona and Navarra

Navarra

Nestled between the Pyrenees and the Spanish plains, sits the province of Navarra. Neighbour and family to the Basque Country.

Known to some as the home of the Running of the Bulls and Hemingway’s Pamplona, its a little-known gem.

An ancient kingdom, with its own castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses and charming hidden villages. Preserved over time, Navarra is home to many many surprises, and now Basque Experiences is opening its doors for you…

Navarra Tours

The city of Pamplona, ancient, historic and full of surprises. Home to the Running of the Bulls in July, the inspiration to Hemingway’s ‘Fiesta’ is a charming mediaeval walled city.  Its palaces, castles, churches and cathedral are those of an ancient capital. Founded by Romans, invaded by Barbarians, fought over by Spain, history seeps from its stone walls.

Less than 2 hours drive from Bilbao airport and 4 from Madrid, its also well connected by train. Five star hotels, Michelin Starred restaurants, local produce and wine, Pamplona is a real capital. Mountains and hiking, Basque villages and culture to the north. The south sees wine, fields of wheat, orchards and deserts. Used many times as a film location, Game of Thrones being a recent highlight.

A long weekend, or part of a longer multi-day Tour, Navarra and Pamplona are a special destination. Off the route for many visitors outside of the July Running of the Bulls shenanigans, its a warm and dry city, easily visited on foot. And for those who do wish to walk, its the first major stop on the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James!!

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A Wine Tour from Bordeaux to Bilbao

New Wine Tour….

Bordeaux to Bilbao! That was the idea we came up with back in spring 2016, for some clients who visited us in 2015 on a private wine tour from Bilbao to Barcelona! They loved it so much we agreed to create a new tour for them. This time to take in the SW of France, the world’s most famous wine producing region along with the French Basque Country and the wines and gastronomy of the Spanish Basque Country…

 

Chateau and Cite du Vin

Bordeaux is the city of wine par excellence. Historic, traditional yet modern, regenerated and home to truly spectacular wines. The Cite du Vin, family owned Chateau Lamothe du Haux and the magnificent Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte all combined with our own excellent private guide. Visits to the charming and stunning St Emilion, fine dining in superb restaurants. Not a bad way to start the tour…

Biarritz and San Sebastian

The French Basque Country is sometimes passed by… It’s more recognised neighbour, San Sebastian gets the limelight these days. But Biarritz with its aristocratic past, belle-epoque architecture beautiful beach and elegant residents means a visit is always a must. Lunch at a riverside restaurant in Bayonne was followed by a visit to a D.O. Espelette red pepper farm before heading to San Sebastian for what was a long yet fascinating day. The Hotel Villa Soro certainly makes up for it though!! Visits to Getaria to learn and sample our indigenous Txakoli wine before an evening experiencing the Sagardotegi… The Basque Cider House!

Urdaibai and Bilbao

Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor to the Basque Country, writing, making friends and generally enjoying the finer things in life that we have to offer here! There is no better way to learn about his exploits than taking a slow boat along the Oka River in the stunning Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Sampling local cheeses and preserves, tasting local Txakoli and sing sea-shanties and whaler’s songs is a great way to spend a day before heading into Bilbao and the chic Hotel Miro

Our week of wine and Basque Culture was rounded off with visits to two superb wine-makers. Torre de Oña in Laguardia and the stunningly located Bodega Contino. Here our farewell visit was rounded off with a delicious lunch… The swaying trees provided the shade as as a warm breeze blew through the vines…

 

Txakoli Tours in the green Basque Country

Txakoli Tours in May…..

May is one of my favourite months here in the Basque Country. Long days, a mix of sunshine and showers, and the rolling hills and villages are bursting with spring energy! These elements add up to form a perfect excuse to visit some of our marvellous grape-growers , juice-magicians and and partake in your own , private, made-to-measure Txakoli Tours…

The Basque Country’s own wine.

Our green land and climate, so influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, is somehow ‘bottled’ by alchemists across Euskadi.  Txakoli is a fresh, minerally and sometimes almost herby, slightly acidic wine, unique to this corner of the world. Our grapes, small, and hardy, are carefully hand picked in 3 distinct zones to produce this most Basque of tipples. Hidden from the outside world for years we, Txakoli is finally appearing on some of the world’s finest tables…

Discover with us

May is a very busy time for us here at Basque Experiences and over the last 2 weeks we have been busy guiding and organising various different Txakoli Tours. All made-to-measure by listening to the client and then applying our experience and knowledge to create a personalised private tour. There are family-run business, small producers, pioneers, and Michelin starred restaurants all producing this delicious wine…. When are you coming to discover our Txakoli??

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    Basque Experiences Txakoli

    Basque Experiences Txakoli
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Basque Country Food. Where is it from? pt. 1

Basque Country Food…

Food… Hopefully you will have heard about some of the great dishes we prepare here in the Basque Country (there are a few pointers on this blog…) But have you ever wondered where the produce comes from? Accompanied by our friend Jose Pizarro, a restaurant owner from Caceres in Spain, but who lives and owns 3 restaurants in London, we set out over 2 days to discover some hidden gems…

Food research

Spring is in the the air and everything is coming back to life… In the green hills of Gipuzkoa, magic is at work. Txakoli vines are beginning to sprout and the anchovies are arriving in our waters, but some plants are already flowering and bearing fruit and in some cases vegetables.

The tear-shaped pea is an unknown quantity pretty much everywhere. However here, and in the best restaurants in Spain, it commands a seat at the head table. On a sunny day like today, seeing them on the vines and growing in their tiny pods, well, its a luxury!

Its not only the green things either, Further up in the hills is  a little family-run farm that breeds Euskal Txarri, a rare- breed of Basque Pig. Here the father and daughter team produce award winning sausages, hams, black puddings and bacon. A visit to them is an insight into this tasty world!

Basque Culinary Center

The Basque Culinary  Center was  next on our list as THE place to see when talking about food research here, indeed anywhere in the world. The BCC is a unique faculty and part of the University of the Basque Country, the only such faculty in the world. Dedicated to research and development for all things Culinary….

Dining

No visit to the Basque Country is complete without dining in a Txoko or Sociedad Gastronomika. A private dining club if you like where only members are allowed to cook….  Tales of the dinners and diners are legendary here in the Basque Country. So visiting one on Saturday afternoon was the perfect finale to a bust day discovering and learning about our produce.

Have a look at our fotos and a short video

Basque Experiences. Private Basque Country Tours

 

Sociedad Gastronomika 

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    The tear-shaped peas of Getaria
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