San Sebastian is deservedly renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Spain and a Mecca for food lovers around the world, but its closeness to vineyards incresingly attracts wine enthusiasts.
The coastal municipality lies in one of the most glorious settings imaginable, nestled between the azure Atlantic waters of the Bay of Biscay and a backdrop of lush green hills that characterise Basque country in northern Spain.
The unique setting of San Sebastian, or ‘Donostia’ as it is known in Basque, and its culinary reputation have lured troves of tourists to the city – which has more Michelin stars per capita than any other city in the world.
With its own entry into the encyclopedia of gastronomy with the ubiquitous ‘pinxtos’ – a gourmet incarnation of tapas that is usually served on a toothpick and a slice of bread – San Sebastian is a must-see destination for so called ‘foodies’. And, where there is food, there is wine.
With the vineyards of Txakoli less than half an hour away and the prestigious wine region of La Rioja only a two-hour drive away, San Sebastian wine tours make perfect sense for visitors looking to please their palates on all levels.
There are four potential destinations for a San Sebastian wine tour:
Txakoli is typically a white wine, although red and rose varieties do exist, that is traditionally produced in the northwest of Basque country. The wineries that produce this young wine are generally small, family-owned vineyards across three areas that can accommodate San Sebastian winery tours: Geteria, Bizkaia and Araba.
Despite being among the smallest of the country’s provinces, La Rioja is universally recognised courtesy of its eponymous export; the region boasts over 500 bodegas and produces 175 million bottles a year. And its close proximity provides the most likely destination for a San Sebastian wine tour.
To the south of nearby Pamplona is the Navarra wine growing region, which offers another good excuse to take a wine tour from San Sebastian. Visitors can taste red grape varieties including tempranillo, garnacha, cabernet sauvignon and merlot or white viura or chardonnay grapes – while culture enthusiasts can marvel at stunning medieval castles.
France, the spiritual home of wine, is also within reaching distance of a San Sebastian wine tour. It is possible to venture to the wine regions on the northern side of the Pyrenees including Pays Basque, Bearn and Chalosse – while Bordeaux is only two and a half hours away.
Alternatively, although not technically a wine, the areas surrounding San Sebastian are the largest natural cider, or ‘Sagardo’, producing regions in Spain.
At Wine Paths our local experts can design a customised San Sebastian wine tour to suit your preferences and needs. These include an enviable four-day tour of Rioja and Basque country where visitors can spend two days discovering the region’s famous wines before experiencing the stunning architecture of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum and finishing with fine dining in San Sebastian.
For shorter timescales, there is a private one-day wine tour of Rioja and its mythical land and diverse wineries. As part of this program, visitors have a chance to visit large productions and small boutique wineries as well as enjoying lunch and walking through the medieval town of Laguardia before returning to the coast.
For more information on wine holidays in Spain, visit our destination guide and start planning a trip to San Sebastian that will satisfy all the senses.
Source: San Sebastian Tourism.com
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