Wine, Chocolate & Pintxos: A Luxury Gourmet Tour from Bordeaux to San Sebastian

A Weeklong Tour from Southern France
to Northern Spain

Explore the wine regions surrounding Bordeaux

Learn About Food & Wine Pairings from Experts

Discover Unique Tastes in the Culinary Capital of Spain

Experience a Unique Cooking Class in a Gastronomic Club

Explore the Rioja Wine Region

Hand-Picked Guides Only. English-Speaking, Local Experts

Trip Details

Prices:

2950€ Per Person
Single supplement: 765€


When:

TOUR DATES
– From April 6th to April 12th 2018
– From May 4th to May 10st 2018
– From June 22nd to June 28th 2018
– From August 31st to September 6th 2018
– From October 19th to October 25th 2018


Duration:

7 Days/6 Nights


Trip Style:

Small Group Escorted Sightseeing Tour.
Group Size: 19 maximum


Meeting Point:

Hotel Pick Up in the different cities.


Inclusions:

3-night accommodation in central Bordeaux 5* Hotel
3-night accommodation in central San Sebastian 4* Hotel

– Breakfast from day 2 to 7
– Services of an expert English speaking accredited guide
– Travel in recent, comfortable, and fully equipped minibus
– Welcome dinner in Bordeaux on day 1
– Private guided gourmet walking tour in Bordeaux
– Wine & cheese pairing lunch in Bordeaux on Day 2
– Visit, tasting, and wine-blending workshop at Château Pape Clement in Pessac-Léognan
– Guided walking tour in Saint Emilion including the underground monuments
– Visit and sparkling wine tasting at Cloitre des Cordeliers in Saint Emilion
– Lunch at L’Envers du Décor restaurant in Saint Emilion on Day 3
– Visit and wine tasting gourmande « Caviar » at Château de Ferrand in Saint-Emilion
– Bayonne Ham workshop visit and tasting
– Bayonne chocolate tasting at “Atelier du Chocolat” in Bayonne
– Evening guided walking Pintxos tour in San Sebastian on Day 4
-Basque Market Stroll & Gastronomic Club Lunch on Day 5
– Visit and wine tasting at Baigorri winery in the Rioja wine region
– Visit and wine tasting at Marqués de Riscal winery in the Rioja wine region
– Farewell dinner at a traditional Sagardotegi (cider house) on Day 6
– All entrance fees for activities, monuments, wine tastings mentioned in the program
– Bottled water in the minibus


Exclusions:

Meals, drinks unless specified in itinerary
Social drinks, items of personal nature, room service in hotels
Laundry costs, shipping charges including for the return of lost items
Personal travel insurance
Entrance fees to monuments, museums, attractions unless specified in itinerary
Driver/Guide gratuities at your own discretion

Tour Details

Savor the best food & wines that can be found in this part of Europe as you travel from Bordeaux in Southwestern France to San Sebastian in Northern Spain on this exclusive small group tour that has been especially designed for gourmet travelers. This carefully crafted, laid-back tour begins in Bordeaux, a perfect destination to be introduced to the subtleties behind the art of food & wine pairing. A gourmet tour of Bordeaux, a wine-blending workshop, visits and tastings at Grands Crus wineries, and several delicious meals will be on your program in this part of France. In Northern Spain, reach the foodie town of San Sebastian, which is internationally acclaimed for its sophisticated culinary pleasures and where no less than 9 Michelin starred-restaurants are present. Here, a hands-on cooking experience, a scrumptious Pintxos bar crawl and a tour of the Rioja wine region are just some of the local gourmet experiences that we have included.

Day 1 > Meet In Bordeaux / Welcome Dinner

Welcome dinner in Bordeaux with your guide

7.30pm Meet your guide in the hotel lobby and depart for dinner in a local restaurant. This festive welcome dinner will be the perfect opportunity for you to meet the other travelers and go through the itinerary of the tour with your guide.

10.00pm Return to your hotel and night in Bordeaux.

Day 2 > Gourmet Tour / Wine-Blending Workshop

Breakfast at your hotel.

10.00am pick up at your hotel.

Bordeaux gourmet walking tour & wine and cheese tasting lunch

This morning, depart for a guided walking tour of Bordeaux featuring a mix of historical landmarks and local culinary delights. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, this port city boasts more protected buildings than any other French city after Paris. Discover big-ticket attractions such as Saint Andrew’s Cathedral or the neoclassical Grand Theater. Between landmarks you will have the opportunity to stop and savor some regional delicacies, including the famous canelé pastry. After the tour, your guide will lead you to lunch at a local restaurant specializing in regional French cheeses where you will have the opportunity to sample several varieties along with wine pairings.

Pessac-Léognan winery visit and wine-blending workshop

In the afternoon, head towards one of the oldest wine producing areas of Bordeaux, the Pessac-Léognan appellation, where wine historians believe the Romans first planted grapes over 2,000 years ago. You will learn more about the history of this important area while visiting an iconic Château, which has been designated a Grand Cru Classé de Graves, for a special wine-blending workshop. Begin with a presentation of the vineyard, barrel cellar, and vault followed by an introduction to the distinct characteristics of its grape varieties. Afterward create and taste your own personal blend, which will be bottled on the spot for you to take home as a special souvenir. End your visit with a tasting of a Grand Cru Classé wine along with commentary by a cellar master of the Château.

6.30pm Return to Bordeaux for dinner on your own and night at your hotel.

Day 3 > St Emilion Wine Region Full Day Tour

Breakfast at your hotel.

9.00am Pick up at your hotel.

Visit of Saint Emilion village and underground monuments

Today the wine region known as the right bank is on your program. Your main destination will be the Saint Emilion wine area where Merlot is the predominant grape variety. Begin the tour with the visit of the village and the underground monuments of Saint Emilion including the unique monolithic church. The tour covers several centuries of history and legend from the time of the monk Saint Emilion to the carving out of the amazing monolithic church. During your visit, admire the medieval paintings in the Trinity Chapel and learn the secrets of the catacombs. Finally, the underground monolithic church will be yours to discover and it will probably be the most fascinating moment of your visit. Afterward we will take you to the Cordeliers Cloister.

Visit and tasting in the “Cloître des Cordeliers”

In 1383, the Franciscans were given some land by Richard II of England within the ramparts of Saint Emilion where they built a church with a cloister, a winery and vat room, a cellar, a garden and a dormitory. Today only the cloister remains, a perfect example of Romanesque architecture in Southwestern France. The site also possesses a large network of tunnels, former quarries, that run beneath the streets and nearby vineyards of Saint Emilion creating an ideal location to age wine.  Since 1892, the Cordeliers have been creating superior quality sparkling wines, called Crémant de Bordeaux, using the traditional “champenoise” method. The wines are aged between 12 to 24 months over the lees in the cellars below the cloister. These conditions are ideal for fermenting and maturing the wines, and the bottles are turned daily to encourage a long, slow development until the wines are ready for disgorging. After a visit of the underground cellars, participate in a commented wine tasting session of sparkling wines that will have you discover a broad palette of flavors and aromas. You will also be given the chance to taste the famous macaron of Saint Emilion, a recipe that has been passed down for generations.

Lunch in a beloved local restaurant of the village

Time for lunch has arrived and we will slowly make our way towards a local wine bar. The restaurant was established by a nearby winemaker who had the idea to open a place where both amateurs and professionals of wine could gather together around an exceptional meal and a superior glass (or two!) of wine. Located just off a small square in the very center of the medieval town, it has become a true institution, revered by passing visitors as well as regular locals. Served in a relaxed atmosphere, the dishes are based entirely on what is in season at the market and there is a genuine commitment to using only high-quality produce. In keeping with the tradition of a true wine bar, service by the glass allows for the perfect pairing of food and wine. The establishment is known for having one of the best wine lists in all of France and still today their vintages are stored in an old stone quarry dating to the 19th century that runs underneath the restaurant. After lunch, you will have some free time for personal discovery to enjoy the beauty of the village.

Gourmet visit and wine tasting in a Classified Growth Chateau

After the village visit and a short drive, reach a Château that has the distinction of being a Grand Cru Classé of the Saint Emilion appellation. For 300 years this Château has stood out amongst the other outstanding wineries of Bordeaux. The enchanting 17th-century architecture is surrounded by both picturesque vineyards and an ancient forest that has been preserved in order to create a charming environment with a magnificent view overlooking the Dordogne Valley. First discover the winery during a tour that will take you through the property followed by all the technical installations, the vat room, and finally the ageing cellar. Then you visit continues with a commented tasting of several vintages from the Château. After the tasting, return to Bordeaux for free time and dinner on your own.

6.00pm Arrive in Bordeaux and night at your hotel.

Day 4 > Bayonne Gourmet Tour / San Sebastian

Breakfast at your hotel and check out.

9.00am Pick up at your hotel.

Bayonne Ham processing atelier

Your destination this morning is the town of Bayonne located south of Bordeaux and capital city of the French Basque region. Our interest here lies in the local produce that made the town so famous: ham and chocolate. Our first stop in the morning is dedicated to the famous ‘Jambon de Bayonne’. The local variety is a cured ham that is seasoned with the famous red peppers grown in the nearby village of Espelette. During a tour of the processing area you will learn about the salting tub and ham drying-room where the vibrant colors and mouthwatering aroma hint at the quality of the products. The tour will be followed by a tasting allowing you to sample some of this popular local produce. Afterward, enjoy some time in town for personal discovery and lunch on your own. Then meet your guide and head towards the chocolate workshop.  

Chocolate workshop and tasting

Bayonne owes its chocolate history to the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled Spain and the Inquisition in the late 16th century and found refuge in this important commercial hub located not too far from the border. In Bayonne, the first chocolate factories were established in France and by the 19th century, the town had become the French capital of ‘chocolate’ with over 31 factories located in the town alone. This afternoon, you will visit a local chocolate factory where you will be introduced to the origins of chocolate making in France while discovering some of the oldest machinery used to prepare the much sought-after beans. Then witness the preparation of the chocolate as you wander through the ‘lab’ where the melted delicacy comes alive. Finally, end the tour with a tasting, a great opportunity for you to savor chocolates from Haiti and Madagascar or the Extra Kiretsa made up of 97% cocoa. After the tasting, you will head to Northern Spain and the city of San Sebastian.

5.00pm Arrive in San Sebastian, check in at your hotel.

Pintxos evening tour

6.00pm You are now convened for a unique Pintxos bar crawl in the old town of San Sebastian. Not only will this walking tour allow you to discover the heart of the historical city, but you will also be introduced to a culinary feast as you go from bar to bar experiencing the local culture along with food ranging from molecular and modern to hearty and traditional, there is something for everyone.

7.30pm End of the Pintxos tour. In the evening, return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.

Day 5 > Market Stroll & Gastronomic Club Lunch

Breakfast at your hotel.

10.00am Pick up at your hotel.

Basque market stroll & gastronomic club lunch

This morning, depart with your guide for a market stroll followed by a unique hands-on cooking experience at a traditional Basque gastronomic club. Walk with your guide to one of the central markets in San Sebastian where you will meet with local farmers and choose from a variety of seasonal products directly from the producers. Then arrive at one of San Sebastian’s numerous private Gastronomic Clubs, settle in with a glass of wine, and help prepare some of the dishes you will be tasting with the products you purchased at the market. Finally, you will gather around the table to enjoy what you have cooked along with other dishes that have already been prepared in the traditional manner. After lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to have some time for personal discovery.

3.30pm End of market stroll and gastronomic club lunch, free time in San Sebastian.

Day 6 > Rioja / Farewell Dinner

Breakfast at your hotel.

8.30am Pick up at your hotel.

Rioja region winery visits & tastings

Welcome to Spain’s greatest wine producing region. Located in Northeast Spain along the Ebro River, protected to the north by the Cantabrian Mountains and anchored in the south by the city of Logroño, Rioja boasts centuries of winemaking history. Known primarily for its red wines, most bodegas have their own distinct formula, albeit typically a Tempranillo and Garnacha blend.

Arrive in the Rio Alaveja area to discover one of Rioja’s most famous bodegas. The winery was designed and built by a Basque architect, whose concept was to fully adapt the building to the existing topography so that visitors can have a magnificent view of the winemaking process. After a visit to the modern production facilities, you will have the opportunity to taste several wines from the estate. You will also have some time to stroll through the amazing shop where you can fully appreciate the architecture designed to perfectly blend in with its surroundings. After the tour, depart for another winery visit. Upon arrival, visit a second renowned bodega in the Rioja region. Founded in the mid-19th century, it has been a point of reference in the winemaking business on both a national and international level since the very beginning. In its early years, it produced the first non-French wine to be awarded a prize of honor at an exhibition in Bordeaux. More recently, its original wine cellars have undergone a transformation into spaces equipped with the most up-to-date technology. During your visit, take a tour the grounds, see the vines, and discover the centuries old cellar as well as the vat house. The tour will end with a tasting of several glasses of the bodega’s wines, both a red and a white. After the tour, we will make our way to the village of Laguardia.

Laguardia village visit

Set atop a hill in the middle of a valley, the walled town of Laguardia is surrounded by vineyards and offers a glimpse into the region’s wine making past. Here, enjoy free time for lunch and personal discovery as you walk through the medieval narrow streets and stop at one of the multiple bars to try some local wine accompanied by a ración or a pintxo. After your lunch and visit we will begin our return to San Sebastian.

6.00pm Return to your hotel in San Sebastian.

Farewell Dinner at a traditional Sagardotegi (Cider House)

7.30pm Tonight, is the final night with your fellow travelers and guide so we have prepared a special farewell dinner for the group. And where better to finish your food & wine gourmet tour in this part of Europe than in a ‘sagardotegi’, a special type of cider house found in the Basque region of Spain that also serves traditional food specialties such as an omelette made with cod and a local cheese served with a quince jelly and nuts for dessert. They are also known for their expertly-prepared steaks, and modern sagardotegis are often described as a mixture between a steakhouse and a cider house. Like most cider varieties in Spain, but different from those found in other parts of Europe, Basque cider is considered ‘natural’ since it is still rather than sparkling. The modern tradition of eating at a sagardotegi originated when buyers looking to purchase from a particular producer would bring along their own food to pair with the cider. This quickly led to a gastronomical tradition where multi-course meals were served along with cider directly from the barrel, definitely an experience not to be missed! After dinner, transfer back to the hotel.

11.00pm Return to your hotel and night in San Sebastian.

Day 7 > San Sebastian

Breakfast at your hotel and end of our services.

Good to Know

  • Tour is operated in English.
  • This tour is not suitable for persons with allergies or food restrictions.
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Program and Prices are per person and listed as a guide only.
  • Prices are per person in double room sharing.
  • Hotels may differ depending on availability. Substitute accommodation will have same category and room level.
  • Currency is in EUR.
  • Our standard cancellation policy applies to this tour – Read More Here.

Terms

Prices are per person based on double/twin room sharing. Guaranteed departure with a minimum of 10 participants. Subject to availability. The hotels have been carefully selected and are centrally located. Hotels may vary to those listed in this itinerary due to unforeseen reasons or in case of unavailability at time of booking. Please be aware that European hotel rooms, especially those in major urban centers or older cities, may be smaller than what you are used to in other parts of the world even though the rooms selected are of a higher standard than the classic room option. Standards and ratings may also be different to your home country. Each person is welcome to bring with them 1 suitcase and 1 small handbag or purse. Owing to limited capacity of the luggage storage areas on the mini-bus and in order to prevent weight issues, we regret that we do not accept more than 1 suitcase per person.  All of our tours involve some walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility. For more information concerning our General Terms and Conditions don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Ophorus Difference

Contagious Enthusiasm – ‘We had the most terrific guide! Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic’ – Virginia B. (Delaware, US)

Flexibility – ‘The guides really took an interest in what WE wanted to do’  Paul C. (UK)

Area Locals – ‘He was so much more than a driver. He really added local color and local flavor.’ Daniel W. (Georgia, US)

Read more about the Ophorus experience.