Tour of the Terroirs

Posted: 11th July 2019

The Private Cellar team has just returned from the third hugely successful Tour of the Terroirs which took a group of intrepid car enthusiasts to some of the greatest vineyards to be found in Northern Spain.

Bush Vines in Bierzo

As all good ideas are formulated, the Tour of the Terroirs was dreamt up over a decent bottle of wine one evening in the company of our good friend and fellow petrol head Edouard Moueix. The first two tours were spent in France, visiting Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, enjoying fabulous hospitality from producers along the way and this time ventured further afield to Northern Spain. The concept of this trip is to open the doors to places that would normally remain closed to wine enthusiasts, to give them a rounded view of a region, from the small humble family business to producers of high-end wines, whilst racing through the countryside in their special cars.

The cars were ferried across the Bay of Biscay and arrived in Bilbao raring to go. The first few days were spent in Bierzo, a relatively undiscovered wine region, but we were amazed at the potential of these wines which are made predominantly from the Mencía grape. Our visit to Ricardo Perez at Descendientes de J Palacios and tasting a barrel sample of La Faraona was undoubtedly a highlight of this first pit stop.

Peter Sisseck

As we left Bierzo, the sun finally decided to make an appearance and the promised heatwave set in and by the time we reached Ribera del Duero the thermometer was already nudging 38 degrees. Fortunately, we were staying in cool luxury at the Abadia Retuerta, a luxuriously converted monastery with its own vineyard.

The wineries we visited during the two days in this region were all so very different, from the totally inspirational lunch we had at Pingus with Peter Sisseck who gave us a fascinating lecture on biodynamics, to the much more accessible wines we tasted at Señorio de Bocos. We were also treated to a fabulous tasting of older vintages with Esther Pinuaga of the eponymous winery, who kindly drove down from Madrid to join us at dinner.

By now our waist bands were getting very tight, we were all battling the heat and one car had given up the ghost, but fortunately our amazing mechanics were able to put it back together again and on to Rioja we travelled for the finale of our trip. There were so many amazing visits here, a very amusing lunch at Bodegas Valserrano, a feast cooked by a Michelin starred chef at Marqués de Murrieta, a superb tour at family owned López de Heredia and an incredible walk through the vineyards at Palacios Remondo. The landscape in Rioja is truly stunning and it really accentuated just how different geographically all these regions are.

So home we came after a brilliant week and now its full steam ahead for Tuscany next year. Toot Toot…!

For more information about the Tour of the Terroirs 2020 in Tuscany,  please contact