Our six day wine tour of Spain and Portugal kicks off with a landing in Oporto spending the first night with the Casa Ferreirinha Planalto White from the Douro - a full bodied blend of indigenous white grapes with an intensely floral nose and white peach and tropical fruit on the palate. On night 2 we cross the border to Rias Baixas, home of Spain's most famous, seafood friendly and nautically flavoured white wine grape..Albarino..courtesy of Pazo Barrantes, the ancestral home of the Creixell family of the iconic Rioja estate Marques de Murrieta. With 4 months on lees, this broadly shouldered albarino is well suited to richer seafood, offering juicy tangerine and bitter pear skin flavours, smooth and fleshy in the mouth. On night 3 we drive to the interior of Galicia, tasting a poached pear Godello from Telmo Rodriguez whose plush sappy orchard and pit fruit flavours are held in check by a snap of candied ginger.
For night 4 we're off to Rioja, tasting the Rioja Reserva from Marques de Murrieta (the first of the great Rioja houses founded in 1852) whose sweet, seamless palate offers intense dark berry preserve, cherry-cola and spicecake flavours and a repeating vanilla nuance. For the 5th night we stay close by in Ribera del Duero's Pago de los Capellanes whose aromatic take on Tempranillo evokes palate-coating blueberries,woodsmoke, vanilla and mocha, with an exotic note of incense building in the glass. Then it's back to the Douro, tasting the old red vines of Quinta do Crasto whose history goes back to 1615, long before the Douro became the world's first demarcated wine region in 1756. Consistently one of Portugal's greatest red wine the lively fruit showcases finesse, harmony, crispness and focus and will age nicely.