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Explore Three Amazing Wineries in Galicia

Visit the Amazing Galician Wineries of Martín Códax, Pazo Baión & Granbazán

Did you know that every year there are over 4,000 fiestas in Galicia?  With this amount of celebrations, the Gallegos need a lot of wine; and boy do they have some amazing wine.  In fact, the wine was one of the reasons why I wanted to visit Galicia. Of course, Galicia is famous for the city of Santiago de Compostela which is where pilgrims complete their journey after walking through parts of Spain, Portugal, and France.  The landscapes in Galicia are stunning and the region is filled with lush green forests.  It also has hundreds of beaches that can be enjoyed during the summer months.

As I mentioned, one of the reasons I traveled to Galicia was to search for amazing bodegas (wineries) and I also wanted to create a new wine escape for WTT.  I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the wineries I visited.  I also found the Gallegos to be open and very friendly.

Old palace at the Pazo Baión Winery in Galicia, Spain.
Old palace at the Pazo Baión Winery.

There are five main wine regions in Galicia:  Ribiero, Ribiera Sacra, Valdeorras, Monterrei, and Rias Baixas.  It is in Rias Baixas that I visited and focused my efforts due to its internationally famous Albarino grape which the locals will tell you has led the resurgence of the wine region.

I made my way to my hotel Pazo O’Rial in Villagarcia de Arosa after a two-night stay in Vigo, Spain.  From my hotel, I was able to visit all three wineries in three days.  Each winery was within 15 miles of the hotel.

Pazo Baión (Cordelina Wine Company)

The first winery I visited was, Pazo Baión.  If you’re looking for a winery with stunning landscapes and centuries worth of history, Pazo Baión will not disappoint; nor will the wine.  This beautiful winery has passed through different hands since the 15th century.  I was excited to visit the winery due to its history stunning views.

Place at the Pazo Baión winery in Galicia, Spain.
Pazo Baión Winery

The 76-acre winery is single vineyard winery.  Their Albariño is made exclusively from grapes from the vineyard.

Address:  Pazo Baion | Abelleira 4,5,6 – Baion CP 36614 Vilanova de Rousa Pontevedra, Spain

Phone: +34 986 543 535

Email: info@paxobaion.com

Bodegas Martín Códax

Day two was filled with more learning and exploring the amazing city of Cambados.  However, in the early afternoon, I visited the famous winery, Bodegas Martín Códax which was founded in 1986 after a famous medieval poet.  The poet wrote about his love for Galician coast and the sea.  The winery could not have selected a better name for this winery.

I loved all three wines I tasted, but my favorite was the Lias.  However, their flagship wine along with the Organistrum was also amazing.  The most interesting thing about the winery is that it is set-up as a collaboration of over 300 families whose grapes are supplied to the winery.  They pride themselves on being a winery of the people for the people.

Address:  Bodegas Martín Códax | Burgans 91 – 36633 Pontevedra, Spain

Phone: +34 986 526 040

Email:  comercial@martincodax.com

Granbazán Winery

On day three, I headed north to Santiago de Compostela but on my way, I visited my third amazing winery, Granbazán.  The winery has been in production since 1980.  I was impressed with the three bottles I tasted.   The winery not only offers amazing wine, but also canned delicacies like sardines and clams.

Entrance to the Granbazán winery in Galicia, Spain.
Bodega Granbazán

I enjoyed all three wines, but my favorite was the Limousine.  I enjoyed it so much, I had to take a few bottles back to my hotel for further tasting.  However, you will want to also try their other tasty bottles.  Try the Etiqueta Verde and Etiqueta Ambar.

Address:  Granbazán Winery | Lugar de Tremoedo, 46 Vilanova de Arousa (Pontevedra), Spain

Phone:  +34 986 555 562

When to Go and Where to Stay

Galicia can receive up to 50 inches of rain per year, that is why its best to plan your trip from May to August.  If you’re interested in experiencing the wine harvest, you should plan your trip from late September to early October.  Contact the wineries for further details.

Hotel Pazo O’Rial

Hotel Pazo O’Rial in Galicia, Spain.
Hotel Pazo O’Rial.

I had an amazing three-night stay at Pazo O’Rial.  The staff were friendly, professional, and always helpful.

Website:  http://www.pazorial.es/es

I had a wonderful experience at each of these wineries and I know you will too.  If you’re planning to visit wineries anywhere in Europe, do not overlook Galicia.  Not only are the wines amazing, but the overall trip cost compared to other European wine regions might be a no-brainer.

Are you planning a trip to Spain?  Join one of our customized Spain Escapes.


©2018 World Travelers Today

 

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Visit Cureil de Duero’s Castle Hotel

Visit Curiel de Duero’s Castle Hotel | Have you ever stayed in a castle hotel?  We had the opportunity to stay at Curiel de Duero’s Castle Hotel and it was an amazing experience.  The hotel staff made us feel like we were Spanish Royalty and the food at its famous restaurant was delicious.  We were in the area building our new Ribera del Deuro Wine Tour and were looking for hotels that would match our private and exclusive tour.  We are happy to share that Curiel’s Castle Hotel is perfect for our needs.  Not only is the hotel luxurious, private, and charming but they also have a private winery built inside of a 1,000 year old church.  What more could one ask for?

The Hotel

The hotel sits upon a high hill in the famous Ribera del Duero wine region.  Although the hotel has only been in operation for 20 years, the hotel sits upon an old Roman fortification.  At the bottom of the hill is the city of Curiel de Duero.  The hotel has 24 rooms and each room is named after a King or Queen from Castilla y Leon.  There is a private conference room for meeting and movies.  There is also an amazing terrace with stunning views of the surrounding country side.

The Winery

The hotels private winery is called La Antiqua San Martin and is located in the city of Curiel.  Although the main structure has now been converted into a winery, there is still a small private chapel inside.  We were able to discuss prices and availability with the hotel owner to ensure it will be available for our Ribera del Duero Wine Tour.

Travel Video of Curiel Castle Hotel



Photos of the Castle and Bodega

How to Get There

We rented a car from Madrid and drove two and a half hours to Penafiel.  After a two night stay in Penafiel we drove 10 minutes to Curiel.

Address:  Calle Trascastillo, S/N 47316 Curiel de Duero España
Reservas:+34 983 880 401
Anulaciones:+34 983 880 401


Join World Travelers Today on our Ribera del Duero Wine Tour and experience Curiel Castle Hotel first hand.

 Ribera del Duero Wine Tour


©2018 World Travelers Today

 

 

 

 

 

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Carlos San Pedro Wine Tour

Visit a 500-Year-old Winery in the Ancient Caves of Laguardia

If you love wine then Laguardia, Spain is a place you should start planning to visit on your next vacation.  The city dates back to over 1,000 years and is till protected by city walls.  We had the opportunity of visiting this beautiful Spanish town which is located in the region of Rioja Alaves.  The town is located on a high hill and it is surrounded by many famous wineries such as Bodegas Ysios and Marques de Riscal.  However, we wanted to visit a winery that was not so well known internationally, but one that was known locally.

I stayed at the Hotel Castel Collado and the staff were very friendly and highly recommended the Winery Carlos San Pedro.  There are dozen’s of other wineries, but Carlos San Pedro is very unique.  The winery is over 500 years old and is located deep in the caves of Laguardia.   The caves once served as store houses for military supplies to defend the city but were converted into wineries centuries ago.

Here is a video of WTT visiting the winery.

 


Where to Stay

Hotel Castillo el Collado is an amazing refurbished hotel sits atop the hill of Laguardia.  From the top of the tower you can see for miles in every direction.  The hotel has 10 unique rooms that vary in size and layouts.  There is also a restaurant in the hotel which we highly recommend.

 

How to Get There

Car

We rented a car from Bilbao and drove for a little over an hour before we arrived in Laguardia. Parking is limited atop the hill near the hotel, so try to arrive as early as you can.

Bus

There are buses from San Sebastian and other surrounding towns like Bilbao.

Train

The nearest train station is located in Logrono and a bus can be taken from there.

Join World Traveler’s Today on our Basque Country Wine Tour.  Visit our tour page to learn more.

Are you a wine lover?  Join World Travelers Today in Spain for our Basque Country Wine Tour. 

 


 

©2018 World Travelers Today

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(VIDEO) SER Part One: Interview with Javier Candon


Wine and Cuisine



This week I had a chance to sit down with Javier Candon, one of SER’s owners, to talk about the restaurant’s vision and menu.  Javier shared with me how SER came to fruition and what the restaurant offers visitors.  He also shared some of his future plans and SER’s goals.  Below is the full transcript.

Interview with Javier Candon

Samuel Garza: Javier, thanks for having us here at your restaurant SER, tell us a little bit about SER and how this came about.

Javier Candon:   My pleasure and thank you for having me and cheers/salud.  SER came from an idea after working in many restaurants in the DC area and seeing what is going on in the market.  We thought that there was some potential, a market for traditional Spanish food, but not in a tapas format.

Samuel Garza:  Great, because that brings me to another question.  Because D.C. is full of tapas restaurants, as you well know, I was a you know, a regular at La Tasca; what makes SER so unique away from the tapas menu from Spain.

Javier Candon:  We are simply not a tapas restaurant.  We are a restaurant that serves traditional Spanish food, and as a matter of fact, most of the traditional Spanish dishes cannot be served in the tapas format because they are simply too big to be in that type of format.  For example, one of our more popular dishes is the Cochinillo; which is the roasted suckling pig and it is big,  so we serve a quarter of the pig, but if you wanted to do it in a tapas concept it will need to be small.  And the texture of the meat is completely different if it comes from the ribs or if it comes from the leg.  So we serve a main dish that can serve two to three people.  The size is a quarter of the pig.  This includes ribs and the leg of the pig.

Samuel Garza:  That’s fantastic, because, as you know, I’ve been to Spain many times and when I’d come back to DC or a lot of cities in the US, you get tapas, but tapas is usually something that you get, you know at the bar, with a nice little drink, when they welcome you in.  That’s why I see SER so refreshing. Talk about your success, this has been the talk of the town for about a year.   There have been a lot of rave reviews from many, you know, well established magazines inside DC.  What makes SER so successful?

Javier Candon:  I think it’s because we stand for what we are.  SER means “to be.”  But SER also stands for Simple. Easy. Real.  That is what we want to be.  We are not a fancy restaurant.  We are a simple, easy-going, and real.   You will eat here what your mother or your grandmother would cook for you at home.

Samuel Garza:   I think this is unique and I think that’s an edge or a part of your success because you know, like I said, there are many tapas restaurants, but this sticks out.  So talk to me about your chef, I mean he’s well-known.  Talk a little bit about him and what he brings to SER.

Javier Candon:  Well, Josu is not my chef, we actually own this restaurant together.  Josu, came to this country almost 30 years ago to open one of the most well-known restaurants in the city and one of the best Spanish restaurants outside of Spain.  Josu, is just the best traditional chef that I have ever known.  Together, we want to be a simple, easy, and real restaurant.  We are not reinventing  the wheel.  We are just taking a very good product and cook it with a lot of love and there is nobody like that,  like Josu, to do that kind of work.

Samuel Garza:  That is kind of hard to find, but you have him and that is fantastic.  What makes SER so unique as far as the menu, you know, you talked about the bigger plates but you do have some smaller plates?  Can we talk about those plates, because people need to realize that they can come and have those at Happy Hour?

Javier Candon:   Absolutely, yeah we are a full service restaurant.  We have small plates.  Some people call them tapas and some people call them appetizers.  At the end of the day, we have some of the most traditional items from Spain.  So you can come and have a couple of appetizers and share a pitcher of sangria, or you can have a full meal.

Samuel Garza:   Is Happy Hour seven days a week?

Javier Candon:  Yes, seven days a week from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Most of  our appetizer items on the main menu are in the happy hour menu.

Samuel Garza:  That is fantastic.  Now talk to me a little bit about Pajama Sunday.   That sounds like a novel idea.  Share a little bit about that.

Javier Candon:   That is working very well.  You know, on Sunday people wake up after having a big Saturday and they are tired.  Maybe they don’t feel like dressing up.  They just want to jump out of bed and come in their pajamas.  They will get a free mimosa or a bloody Mary when they come in.  However, the most important thing about the pajama menu is that it is made in a way that people don’t need to think too much about what to choose  You have four appetizers,  four main courses, and four desserts.   They are brunch oriented items and they don’t need to go through the entire menu.  They can may make it a quick decision.

Samuel Garza:  That is something I will definitely need to try soon.  That leads me to ask, what’s next for SER.  You have been so successful at La Tasca and now you’ve been successful here.  What will we see next from Javier Candon?

Javier Candon:  You never know.   You may get a surprise, but at the moment, it has only been one year with SER and there are a lot of things that we need to improve.  There are a lot of areas that we need to focus on.  At the moment, it is to continue to work on SER and make it even better.  I’m obviously focusing on creating new ideas at SER that will bring us to the next stage.

Samuel Garza:  Well, we are looking forward to ordering some food, and thank you for your time.  Salud!

Javier Candon:  Salud!


Stay tuned for SER Part Two:  The Food

Coming on June 29, 2016.  


 

©2016 World Travelers Today

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ROME’s ENOTECA IL GOCCETTO


Wine and Cuisine


“Italy has changed.  But Rome is Rome.”
– Robert De Niro

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By Samuel Garza

 

I have visited the ancient city of Rome many times over the past two decades and I can never get enough of Rome’s culture, history, and food.  I have several favorite restaurants and historical sites I enjoy visiting (more blog posts to come), but nothing motivates me more than visiting Enoteca il Goccetto.  This cozy and rustic bar serves up many delicious Italian and French wines along with small plates to hold you down before dinner.  Over the years I’ve met many locals and tourist in the bar, and during my most recent visit, I was surprised to learn that Goccetto is one of the first wine bars in Rome.  The bar opened in 1983, which may seem new, but the cool thing about this bar is that it’s housed in an ancient Roman building called “Palazzetto del Vescovo di Cervia”.

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I like to start my day off with a delicious Italian cappuccino followed by a long walk around parts of the city to take photographs.  Regardless of the weather, I’m usually in need of a rest and a cool drink after a few hours of walking around the streets of Rome.  I usually find my way to the historic street of Via Giulia and then zig zag my way to Goccetto.  Once I arrive, I usually order one of my favorite Italian beers, G. MENABREA E FIGLI Amber.  I highly recommend you do the same, especially on a warm Summer day.

 

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There are several beers to choose from, but I consistently order the amber.  This beer is part of a brewery that was founded in 1846 and has been winning medals for it’s tasty brews for 170 years.

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Food

The bar does not offer large portions of food, but you can order Carciofi Grigliati, cheese, olives, and other small plates to compliment your wine selection.  If you need help figuring out what you should order, ask the bartender to pair some food with your drink selection.  The bar’s staff are friendly and welcoming.  Don’t be shy.  Ask and you shall receive.  ?

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Wine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bar has over 800 wines which are mostly a collection of Italian and French.  You don’t have to ask for the menu to see their selection because the wines are the bar’s decoration.  There are hundreds of wines decorating the walls.  You can walk around and select the magic bottle that will keep you happy for a few hours.  I usually have wine in the evening when the bar is filled with people.  I’ve asked other patrons their recommendations when I wanted to try something new.  Trust me, the regulars are friendly and will be willing to help you choose a good bottle or two.

Digestivo

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Before I head home for the night, I always choose a digestivo to cap off a wonderful day.  My favorite Italian digestivo is Amoro Nonino.  This famous digestivo is made in Fuili, which is in Northern Italy.  This delicious drink is grappa based and blended with several herbs.  Amoro Nonino is reddish in color and stands firm at 70 proof.

Don’t be surprised if you see several patrons crowded near the entrance to the bar with their drinks.  The bar is small and many people take their drinks out to the street to chat with their friends.  I recommend getting to to the bar early if you want to have a seat inside, however hanging outside with the locals is also a cool experience.