Green Galicia Wine Tour: Rías Baixas, Ribeiro & Ribeira Sacra

Green Galicia Wine Tour: Rías Baixas, Ribeiro & Ribeira Sacra

Take the rustic route through Galicia to discover artisanal wines, ancient towns and exquisite landscapes in a place apart.

Tour Highlights

Availability:
This bespoke wine tour is available throughout the year. Minimum number of guests is two. To check availability for specific dates, please get in touch. Our itinerary can be altered to suit your flight schedule and duration desired.

Pricing:
The price for 6 days (5 nights) wine tour: Euro 1325,- per person sharing a double room.

Inclusions:

  • 1 night accommodation 5-star boutique hotel Santiago de Compostela
  • 2 night’s accommodation exclusive manor house hotel in Rías Baixas
  • 2 night’s accommodation exclusive winery/manor house hotel in Ribeiro
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 1 chef’s menu in dinner Santiago de Compostela – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 private walking tour in Santiago de Compostela
  • 1 exclusive boat tour of the Ria de Arousa bay – including visit to shellfish nurseries
  • 1 chef’s menu dinner in Rías Baixas – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 chef’s menu dinner Ribeiro restaurant/winery – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 restaurant dinner Ribeiro – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at a classic Rías Baixas winery, followed by tapas style lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at a modern Rías Baixas winery, followed by tapas style lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at a Ribeiro winery, followed by a picnic lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at a Ribeira Sacra winery, followed by a tapas style lunch – including wines and soft drinks

Not included:

  • Air fare
  • Car rental
  • Travel insurance

Overview

In Spain’s northwest lies the diverse and exiting region of Galicia. The land offers the visitor beautiful, intensely green landscapes, high forested hills, mountains, and vineyards that produce  some the best wines in Spain – white and red wines. With a shoreline reminiscent of  Norwegian fjords, whereby the inlets  known locally as Rías Altas and Rías Baixas provide dramatic coastal scenery, arguably Europes’ best seafood is on offer too.

Galicia has many beautiful historic sites, with the spectacular city of Santiago de Compostela a key attraction. This is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in all Spain. It is a famous ancient pilgrimage centre and, thanks to a large and lively student population, remarkably unstuffy. In a densely packed historic town, Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings that grew around the St James Cathedral make for a very atmospheric cityscape – UNESCO World Heritage listed. There are many great places to eat and drink too.

There is much more than Santiago. Provincial cities like Ourense and Ribadavia  offer a rich and charming cultural heritage. Wine towns like Cambados are delightful.

Santiago is conveniently located for visiting the Rías Baixas, Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra wine regions, which regions you will explore during our tour.

Galicia is famous for its great food. The seafood and fish here are hard to match in terms of quality and diversity. Think vieiras (scallops) mexillónes (mussels) xoubas (sardines), centollas (spider crabs) and pulpo – Galicia’s most famous dish may be Pulpo a la Gallega: octopus dressed with olive oil, spicy paprika and coarse salt.

There is also an abundance of local meat dishes, coupled with a tradition of making tasty cured hams and sausages. Rich and buttery local cheeses like the Tetilla are a good match for the local white wines made from the local Albariño grape, thanks to its spritzy quality and peachy fruit. Visitors to the main Galician towns will find many excellent bistro-style eating house to savour ‘’Gallego’’ food and wine. Stylish as well as traditional wine bars serving fine local white wines and fruit-driven reds are plentiful.

Northwest Spain has a fascinating diversity of climates, landscape, soils, and subsoils.  In particular Galicia stands out for wildly diverse wine regions. The most famous one, Rías Baixas, has abundant rain fall, intense Atlantic influence and sandy soils that deliver fresh and distinctive crispy white wines. Landlocked Ribeira Sacra offers a landscape of narrow valleys and spectacular steep hills of different geological origins. Sun exposure and altitudes result in a wide range of “rinconés” (corners/nooks) that greatly impact the complexity of the high-quality wines produced here.

Ribeiro, just as Ribeira Sacra, offers  dramatic landscapes of steep terraces but with a predominance of granitic soils, revealing a great aptitude for quality white wines. Both Valdeorras and Monterrei are found deeper inland, with a combination of middle Atlantic and continental influences. In both there is predominance of white varietals, Godello being the dominant grape.
In all wine regions pioneering winemakers have been returning to their roots, focusing on indigenous grape varietals and recovering old vineyards.  As a result Galicia has been transformed into an exciting wine destination.

Rías Baixas wine region
The white wines made in the lush and green coastal zone of Rías Baixas are arguably Spain’s best whites. The main grape here is the aromatic Albariño, other varieties include Treixadura and Loureira. Albariño wines with their fresh, peachy fruit are often drunk young; wines made from old vines tend to have excellent capacity for aging. The vines are trained on pergolas, so that the grapes are shaded from the sun during the hottest part of the year and are far enough off the ground to protect them from roaming wild animals. Reds are usually made from local grapes like Caiño Tinto and Espadeiro.

Ribeiro wine region
During medieval times Ribeiro, with a long winemaking tradition started by the Cistercian monks of the San Clodio Monastery back in the 10th century, emerged as the first internationally renowned wine region in Spain. The region became prosperous due to successful wine  export to England and the Low Countries in the 16th century. In particular the Jewish merchants established in the town of Ribadavia set up wine businesses. A living proof of this is the town’s large ancient Jewish quarter, one of the best preserved in the whole of Spain.

Fortunately, today the growing interest for quality wines is once again putting Ribeiro on the map. On sunny hillsides Mencía and Sousón are the preferred red grape varieties.  As for whites, Treixadura is arguably the main ingredient of the Ribeiro valley slopes, followed by Torrontés, Godello, Loureira, and Albariño. The best Godello whites bear comparison with fine Burgundy whites. The Ribeiro landscape with steep terraced vineyards along the Mino river is exquisite. The ancient riverside wine town of Ribadavia is beautiful and authentic.

Ribeira Sacra wine region
Ribeira Sacra is one of the youngest appellations in Spain, dating back to 1996. It was an overdue recognition of the region’s high potential for quality wines. It shook locals out of their complacency, and the quality of this harsh but brilliant terroir became increasingly visible.  A few winemakers adopting a “back to roots movements”, like Raul Perez and Laura Lorenzo, realised some of Spain’s freshest most Atlantic influenced reds. The dominant grape variety is Mencía, but there is a growing interest for the Bracellao or Merenzao for the reds. The whites are led by now famous Godello varietal, with Doña Branca, Loureira and Torrontés finding a growing number of enthusiasts. Resulting wines are often the product of an artisanal approach, playfully made, and quite exciting. A non-conformist approach is part and parcel of the charms of these wines and one of the reasons international wine lovers have a growing interest in Ribeira Sacra.

Your Itinerary

  • Arrival Santiago de Compostela, check in to your hotel.
  • Late afternoon a private tour of historic Santiago. Your enthusiastic local guide will walk with you through the oldest and most remarkable areas of this ancient city. Strolling through small alleyways and majestic squares you will enjoy the sights and sounds of this enchanting place with so many hidden nooks and crannies. The tour will be off the beaten track, and your guide will share with you facts and stories about the area which are not usually mentioned in guidebooks.
  • Dinner will be at a stylish modern restaurant at easy walking distance from your hotel. The menu will display some of the delicious signature courses of a famous chef from Northern Spain. Dishes are light and pure, sourced from local ingredients – they may include scallops with beetroot foam, prawn and tomato confit salad, razor clams with chorizo, lamb shoulder with saffron potatoes, or fillet of sea bass with asparagus and tomato & onion confit. The wine list here is long and excellent. Each course will be paired with a different local wine.
  • After breakfast, time to relax and explore Santiago de Compostela on your own.
  • At the end of the morning, just a short drive into the Rías Baixas. Halfway into your trip, a stop at the Salnés Valley. This Valley overlooking the fjord like coastal area of the Rías Baixas region is one of the Europe’s most exciting locations for wine production. Here you will visit a remarkable winery: it is a so-called Pazo, an estate vineyard of old Albariño vines overseen by a charming manor house that dates back to the 1400’s.  This is an extremely special place.
  • After a visit to the manor house and having learned about the truly fascinating and wondrous history of the estate, your exclusive tour continues in the strikingly renovated winery. Last but no least there will be a comparative tasting of the different  Albariños wines produced at the winery, accompanied by finger food from the area. After a light lunch, there is time to further explore the estate, for example the  beautiful camellias garden.
  • After the visit, check-in into your manor house/winery in a charming village nearby, close to the sea. The rest of the day free to explore the charming surroundings on your own.
  • Dinner in a wonderful restaurant, located in an elegantly decorated venue just a pleasant stroll from your hotel. Here the chef offers a modern take on traditional Galician cuisine. You will enjoy the chef’s menu; dishes may include scallop carpaccio dressed in paprika, air dried tuna (mojama) with almonds, skate with peas & lemon, beef brisket or spiced Celtic pork tacos. The tasting menu will be complemented by excellent local wines.
  • After breakfast, you are expected for a private boat tour of the Ria de Arousa (Arousa Bay), in the Rías Baixas region.
  • Exploring one of the long inlets (rias) of the Rías Baixas is rewarding, as there is plenty that deserves a closer inspection. Your boat tour offers a great and relaxed opportunity to learn about the pristine nature of the coastline whilst enjoying extraordinary  views over the inlet, full of small islands with white sandy beaches.
  • Quintessential to the Rias Baixas are the shellfish nurseries. Our boat tour will provide you with a first-hand insight on how the shellfish are farmed. Your captain will take you to a family-run mussel farm in the estuary, where you can understand more about the mussel production. And harvesting, like the scrapping of clams from the seabed by small rafts and, when in season, women in wading boots digging for razor clams. Many of the sea delicacies you may have been savouring during the tour come from this ‘’Ria” inlet.
  • After the boat tour, a wine tour at a winery overlooking the Ria. It is one of the most renowned wineries in Spain. Your private tour commences with a brief explanation of both the region and the winemaking process followed by a small interactive exhibit. A treat for wine lovers and wine learners alike.
  • Tasting will take place at the winery’s terrace, overlooking the Salnés Valley the town of Cambados and the Atlantic. The views are terrific. A comparative tasting of the estate’s top wines and will be accompanied with some local artisan tapas. Sampling the wines and food paired here, you may find a new-born complexity to the local products. Food and wine in Galicia go hand-in-hand and this experience will show you how much flavours can be elevated when paired.
  • The remainder of your afternoon is free to unwind at manor house cum winery or to explore the region further. In the evening dinner is on your own.
  • After breakfast, depart to the Ribeiro wine region – just over 1-hour’s drive.
  • During the morning you will visit a critically acclaimed Ribeiro winery. The bodega, with over half a century of history, was almost singlehandedly responsible for reclaiming back the prestige of this once famous wine region. By combining new technology with classic winemaking techniques and by salvaging overlooked native grape varieties – like Godello, Treixadura and Loureira for the whites and Mencia for reds – the people here set the standard for many other wineries to follow.
  • The tour begins with a visit to the vineyards overlooking the Miño river, with a magnificent view over the valley. Afterwards, a brief explanation of the winemaking process at the winery. The tour ends with the tasting of at least 4 of the top wines. The time is then to relax on your own while sampling a nice picnic basket filled with prime Galician products under a pergola with great views; wine is also included, of course.  If the weather is nippy, then lunch will be served inside the cozy manor house.
  • After lunch, check-in at your beautiful and exclusive country house hotel cum winery set amidst the vineyards. We feel this is an ideal place to unwind whilst enjoying unspoiled and spectacular countryside.
  • Dinner at the hotel’s excellent restaurant. You will taste a chef’s menu composed of country-inspired dishes with a modern twist. The line-up will change according to the season, but might include mussel soup with herbs, tender bits of octopus with carrot and orange, or game and wild mushrooms. All dishes will be paired with different Galician wines.
  • Breakfast at your leisure.
  • Your last winery visit of the tour is in the Ribeira Sacra wine region, where you may be blown away by the dramatic nature. Here the river Sil flows through a stunning canyon making the vineyard landscape breathtaking  as well as picturesque. The rugged topography has not stopped daring winemakers to produce top wines here. This may be called heroic viticulture at its peak, with terraced vineyards steeply sloping down to the river Sil.
  • The family whose winery you are visiting quickly understood that great wines could be accomplished on this terroir, so they started to claim what was considered then unproductive land. It is run now by the fourth generation of this family; under their guidance, new winemaking techniques are on the go and so is the growing portfolio of quality wines. The wine portfolio is great and, at times, unexpected. Including signature Mencía reds, or Brancellao, balanced towards savoury flavors not dissimilar to Burgundy-style wines. For the whites, richly flavoured and balanced Godello and Caiño Branco. There is even a carbonic maceration white made with Loureira. There wil be plenty to sample. Lunch is served on the deck, or inside with a great view over river cliffs
  • After lunch, return to the hotel, with time to relax and enjoy the splendid surroundings.
  • Farewell dinner at a beautiful restaurant on the banks of the Sil river where you will enjoy the dishes of a local chef with matching wines. Dishes will depend on the seasons and availability of the best ingredients. This restaurant is known for its excellent Galician food.
  • After breakfast, your wine tour of Galicia comes to an end.

Santiago de Compostela
You will stay one night in an elegant and charming 5-star hotel located in a former medieval convent. The building was refurbished, in a quiet contemporary style with charming period details. There is a pretty garden and a spacious outdoor terrace with fine views to the historic city of Santiago. Rooms are large and extremely comfortable. The old town of Santiago, and good restaurants, are just a short stroll away.

Rías Baixas
You will be staying two nights in a lovely manor house, dating back to the 15th century. The house has recently been renovated and its guest rooms are spacious and very comfortable. The decoration is in a calm traditional style, with some period furniture.
The house is located on a small estate in a delightful village, a leading production centre for Albariño wine. There are lovely grounds, which include terraced gardens, a fruit orchard, and a vineyard. It is a wonderful place to unwind. The location is within easy walking distance of the historic centre.

Ribeiro
For the last two nights of your stay will be sojourning in a relaxing and elegant small size hotel cum winery set among vineyards. This is another beautiful building, an 18th century manor house, painstakingly renovated whilst keeping an old world charm. Decoration is classy, with wood paneling, stone floors, and fireplace mantles preserved. Room are very comfortable, combining modern amenities with some period furniture. The views over the land are gorgeous: especially those over the vineyards against a backdrop of jagged mountains.
In the premises you will find an atmospheric dining room with one of the best restaurants of the region. There is also a nice garden terrace. A lovely place, perfect to unwind and to sample a wide selection of the wines produced at the on-site winery. The attractive old town of Ribadavia with its remarkable and ancient Jewish quarter is around the corner

The easiest way might be to fly into Santiago de Compostela’s airport. There are direct flights into Santiago de Compostela airports from many cities in Europe. For trans-Atlantic flights, it may be easiest to connect in Madrid, Porto, Lisbon or Barcelona.

As an alternative to flying into Santiago de Compostela’s, you can fly into La Coruña and Vigo airport in Galicia in Spain, which offer several daily connections with main European cities. La Coruña is a 50-minute drive from Santiago de Compostela, Vigo a little over 1 hour. Both cities have train connections with Santiago de Compostela. Another option is to arrive & depart via Porto in Portugal. Santiago de Compostela is connected by good roads to Porto; the drive between these cities takes about two and a half hours.

In order to get to the various wineries taking part in the tour, from day 2 you would need a rental car or a private car service. In Santiago however a car is not necessary, as the city is best explored on foot.

Kindly note the pricing on our website does not include transportation, since the cost is largely dependent on the number of people requiring such service. Of course we would be happy to organize a bespoke car service or rent a car on your behalf. If you would like Paladares Travel to assist you, please let us know.

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Paladares Travel

Paladares Travel is an international travel company specializing in travelling in Portugal and Spain. In these two countries we curate bespoke culinary & wine travel experiences with a sense of place.

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