Wine of Spain

WINES OF SPAIN: Las Umbrías

Spain has over 2.9 million acres of vineyards, making it the most widely planted wine producing nation and the third largest producer of wine in the world. With so much choice and such high quality, you might enjoy a little steer in the right direction. Our wine picks:

Wine of the Week

Las Umbrías

A true jewel, subtle and elegant.

Las Umbrías is a red wine made by Comando G in the Sierra de Gredos, in Madrid. Comando G is a project to recover old abandoned vines of the Garnacha variety, hence the ‘G’. Las Umbrías is a variety of Garnacha, coming from a small plot with tricky access, located 900 meters above sea level. The climate, very hard at that altitude, makes the grape ripen in a balanced way so it ends up becoming a fresh and elegant wine. The vineyard faces east, on granite terrain, with sand and clay on the surface.

The winery practices agriculture based on the principles of biodynamics, with the highest respect for the land. Production is very limited. Just over 1,000 bottles, which are only produced in the coldest vintages. It is a light and fine wine that travels north away from the Mediterranean character of the vintage, with delicate and floral character like any of the parcel wines of Comando G. Like its siblings it is remarkably pale in colour but looks are deceiving as the aromas and subtle red fruit flavours are deftly balanced by fine tannin and a mineral acidity. Hand harvested, native fermentation, long maceration and ageing in 500 litre barrels for 12 months.

 

We would love to create a tour of our favourite Spanish vineyards for you. Get in touch now by email, WhatsApp or phone:

 

INTERVIEW WITH OUR FOUNDER, EDGAR BALAGUER

Edgar has more than 20 years experience in the world of communications and public relations, and a unique passion for giving visitors to Barcelona and Spain the most memorable experience of his homeland that he can. We decided that the best person to explain his vision is himself! So here he is.

Barcelona Private Experiences Founder Edgar BalaguerWhat was your motivation to set up Barcelona Private Experiences?

For me, working and travelling have always been closely related and both are my passion. I have travelled a lot, both in Spain and abroad, and I feel that I have been lucky to have seen so much. Travelling should be fun and bring unique experiences. Those experiences are always best when you feel that they are special and that you’re a part of a small group who’ve had them. That’s why I created Barcelona Private Experiences. This project is the result of a lot of work and the thousands of kilometres that I have travelled. I want to offer a lifestyle experience that is different to the regular limits of tourism. I draw on my experiences to give people a really special travelling experience so they get to know Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain in a unique and intimate way. My service is for those in search of something light years ahead of the mass tourist offerings out there. I can show them all the secrets I know!

 

Can you tell us about the best experiences for each of the four seasons, perhaps including some we may not have thought about?

There are experiences for all seasons and all ages. In summer, the Balearic Islands, with Ibiza and Formentera as essentials. They are magical, exciting places to spend a few days with friends and family. We recommend a trip by private plane and yacht, to the best beaches, chiringuitos, restaurants and clubs.

In autumn, our specialities are trips to the Bodegas of la Rioja, the Ribera del Duero or Penedes, accompanied by visits to the most special places nearby, and to see incredible landscapes. Those who like hunting can also enjoy the Montes Universales or Castilla la Mancha. A gastronomic route through Catalonia is another option for discovering new horizons and having some amazing food along the way!

In winter, snow is the star with Baqueira Beret and Andorra. But thanks to the temperate weather we enjoy we can also organise lots of alternative experiences in Winter.

Spring is ideal for a road trip on a Harley Davidson, in the style of the Route 66! And the Costa Brava is beautiful at that time of year.

Whatever the season, I have only one goal, to make sure people enjoy the best experience they possibly can.

 

What are your favourite experiences?

In Barcelona, gastronomy is at the heart of the culture. But I love to go to the places that the tourists don’t know about. The restaurants of the best-known chefs are always fabulous but what really brings me joy is going to the hidden gems. I also love to go on cultural and architectural tours of the Modernism of Antonio Gaudí and Josep Puig i Cadafalch in the city. You can feel the artistry in the air in Barcelona and I love to show it to people. Guided tours of the best wineries in the Penedes are also amazing fun, and you can learn a little about wine too!

 

You also offer the option to easily travel to different parts of Catalonia and Spain. What are your recommendations for short breaks in other areas of Spain?

A month ago we organised a trip for some clients who wanted something exceptional. We wanted to really deliver so we gave them a private jet trip to Menorca, to taste the famous Caldereta de Langosta (lobster stew) at the best restaurant on the island. Then there was last April, when we took a group who wanted to see the April Fiesta in Seville. They enjoyed Flamenco, the bulls, and a private experience of one of the most amazing fairs in our calendar of fiestas. There are many more examples but we will organise them to the specific tastes of any client, so they have a truly unique experience.

 

What makes people go home happy after an experience in Barcelona?

Madrid, Paris, London, Milan, Rome, New York… They are incredible cities but I believe that Barcelona truly fascinates. Its climate, its geography, its culture, its gastronomy, its tradition, its history and art, generate something truly special, and the friendliness of the people finish off the effect. Barcelona has a vibe that invites you to stop, sit down and appreciate the details. It is a city that keeps the past alive while keeping an eye on what’s new. Catalonia is a tapestry of wonderful towns and landscapes. The Costa Brava, the Empordà, the Cerdanya, the Aran Valley, the Pallars, the Montseny, the Montsant… all of them are of a singular beauty but at the same time completely different.

 

Can you say a few final words about your love of Catalonia?

Between the eastern Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea, the Baix Empordá region encompasses several villages, from the interior to the Costa Brava. The landscape is of bucolic beauty, similar to Tuscany. The gastronomy is classic and classy, the medieval architecture, and the beaches are exquisite. In few places, the Mediterranean offers a purity like this. Despite the overwhelming presence of visitors over the years and decades, the charm of our coast is preserved and it is still the place I grew up enjoying and will always love.

 

Gems of the Costa Brava

GEMS OF THE COSTA BRAVA

The Costa Brava, or the “rugged coast”, offers visitors a taste of real Catalan beach life. Despite an out of date reputation as a package holiday location, if you go to the right places you’ll find a quintessential Mediterranean experience. There are so many wonderful places it can be hard to pick one. So, to give you a flavour of what you can expect from a Barcelona Private Experience to the Costa Brava, and starting with the closest to the French border and working back toward Barcelona, here is an introduction to some of our favourite towns.

The region is beautiful at any time of the year, but in September and October, it is truly exceptional when the intense summer heat has passed but the water is still warm and welcoming and the best restaurants, chiringuitos and hotels are full of life.

 

Gems of the Costa Brava

Cadaqués

You can’t really mention Cadaqués without also mentioning its most famous ex-resident, Salvador Dalí, who lived there for decades, and if you’re interested there’s the Casa-Museo de Salvador Dalí (House-Museum of Salvador Dalí) to visit. The white village with its gorgeous surroundings is arguably one of the most unspoilt parts of the Costa Brava, but it still manages to offer some high-end restaurants and great nightlife. As with most of Spain, there are festive events all year round. The old town is made of cobbled streets with bright white buildings, and interesting shops, bars and restaurants scattered throughout. Then there are the amazing beach coves of the Cabo de Creus Natural Park, with crystal clear water and amazing views, easily accessible by a walk around the headland.

 

Empuriabrava

By far the most modern town on the list, Empuriabrava is perhaps a surprising inclusion for some. The 25 kilometres of canals that can be found at Empuriabrava explain why it is sometimes called the ‘Venice of Spain’. It’s the largest residential marine area in the whole of Europe and it’s surrounded by an amazing mountainous backdrop making it a breathtaking sight. The town has a feel of luxury about it and a visit here will leave you feeling that you’ve seen a spot on the Costa Brava that’s different to most. There are long stretches of golden sand nearby that extend into the natural park of L’Empordà, and of course, beautiful restaurants and bars for refreshment along the way.

 

Gems of the Costa Brava

L’Estartit

L’Estartit takes its spot in the world where the Montgrí Massif mountains and the Mediterranean meet, so you can get adventurous in the surrounding country or head to the beach for some relaxation. Or, maybe a quick trip to the Medes Islands which are very close. The town is also placed close to medieval villages like Pals, which makes a wonderful afternoon out. The restaurants, terrace bars and beachfront promenade are a fantastic choice to see in the evening with a few cocktails, but L’Estartit is particularly great for families if you’d like to make it a stop on a Catalan experience with the kids.

 

Begur

Begur is a part of the Baix Empordà region. During the summer the population can exceed 40,000 people so we’d recommend keeping this one for out of the main season. It has plenty to offer though with medieval remnants in the city, like the castle of Begur and the Romanesque Esclanyà and Fornells. The main reason to stop here though is the choice of amazing and prestigious beaches like Sa Riera, Aiguafreda and Aiguablava.

 

Gems of the Costa Brava

Tossa de Mar

Tossa is a special place. As you make your way north from Barcelona you pass some towns that make perfectly decent holiday spots but Tossa is the first one that really shows what the Costa Brava has to offer. There is one large beach and a couple of smaller coves, all of which have crystal clear water and will give you the feeling of really getting to know Catalonia. It is the last fortified medieval town on the Costa Brava. When strolling around you’ll notice the tall walls that house cobbled streets, vibrant restaurants with amazing food, and the real atmosphere of the Mediterranean.

 

Whichever of these towns take your fancy, we will design the best possible visit for your tastes to the Costa Brava. Of course, we will arrange exclusive access wherever possible, and don’t forget, arriving by yacht can make your visit truly spectacular. You can read more about visiting your preferred parts of Spain in our Yacht Hire Barcelona article, or if you’re ready for us to start designing your itinerary, just leave us a few details now and we’ll get to work.

Main photo by Tom Grimbert

Yacht Hire Barcelona

YACHT HIRE BARCELONA

There is almost literally nothing quite like the feeling of taking to the sea in a luxury yacht, on a trip to seek out the most beautiful spots of the Mediterranean. Whether you’d like to take a tour of one or all of the Balearic Islands or to explore further along Spain’s beautiful coastline and many stunning islands, you should arrive at every destination on your itinerary by sea, in true style.

 

Yacht Hire BarcelonaIbiza Party Packages

If you’re looking for a trip that takes in the best nightclubs and beach bars of the Mediterranean, with the precious luxury of returning to your home on the water when you’re ready to escape the crowds (or to travel to the next party spot!), a luxury yacht charter in Ibiza is right for you. From smaller vessels that will escort you to your destinations of choice in the utmost style, to something crazy like a boat with a helicopter pad for those who really want to make their mark, there is a wealth of options to choose from.

Marina Botafoch is one of Ibiza’s most sought out marinas, attracting some of the most beautiful yachts in summer. Then there’s Marina Magna with its city centre location, beneath the Old Town. For those who like to really be in the thick of the action, Club Nàutic Sant Antoni is the spot to step from yacht direct to a club. Whatever you choose, Ibiza yachting will truly show you the meaning of a luxury party life.

Don’t forget, there are many options for Barcelona partying by night or alternative express getaways. Or, you can book your luxury Ibiza yacht right now.

 

Yacht Hire BarcelonaBalearic Cruises

A Balearic adventure can begin at Barcelona, or you can get started on the island of your choice. The major Balearics: Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera, are only a short hop away. Whichever yacht tour of the Balearic Islands is on your wish list, we can design the perfect luxury cruise for you.

Formentera Boat Hire

A private boat to Formentera is a wonderful option to extend your adventure, particularly if you’re visiting neighbouring Ibiza. The smallest and arguably most unspoiled island of the four is not reachable by plane, meaning that a trip there by boat feels all the more exclusive. The natural world is at its best in Formentera, and when you sail into the perfect snorkelling waters and see the never-ending stretches of white sand on offer, you are sure to agree.

Mallorca Superyacht Hire

For those with a desire for something a little bigger, another option is to hire a superyacht for a day trip to Mallorca. The largest of the Balearics is truly beautiful if you know where to sail, and it has something for everyone. When it comes to finding a port, the Andratx Marina offers direct access to crystal clear blue waters, or Club de Mar Mallorca is the prestigious yacht club that offers spots for small boats and mega yacht charters alike. Whichever your preferences, we can show you the Mallorca that is right for you.

Menorca Luxury Yacht Hire

Don’t forget the perfect beaches of Menorca, which are perhaps the best of the Balearics. On your luxury yacht, you will have exclusive access to the tranquil turquoise coves of Cala Turqueta or Cala Pregonda and will be able to see Menorca in the best way imaginable.

Wherever you set sail, before you know it you’ll be relaxing on the deck surrounded by crystal clear blue water champagne in hand (if that’s your thing), sailing the Mediterranean on your way the most beautiful spots we know. Our luxury yacht charters can be in the form of a day trip or can last as long as you’d like to explore Spain from the sea.

Leave us some details now and we can start planning your perfect luxury yacht trip right away

Main photo by Tom Grimbert

Caldereta of Menorca

CALDERETA DE LANGOSTA OF MENORCA

Our Gastronomic Getaway

Almost every part of Spain has a food type or a dish that it is best known for and most proud of. So, in a country as gastronomically rich as Spain, travelling can very easily end up being a delicious experience! In the future, we’ll be sampling the seafood of Galicia or the fine restaurants of the Basque Country, but our latest trip was to Menorca for the typical Balearic classic, Caldereta de Langosta.

Restaurante Es CrancBarcelona to Menorca by Private Jet

After a short flight by private jet with a little Krug Champagne to start things off, we’d transported our guests from Barcelona to Menorca in no time. Menorca holidays are less common than those to many other parts of Spain, meaning this island paradise is one of the most authentic and unspoilt parts of the Balearics. It would take no more than a quick trip to one of the stunning beaches on offer for you to see what we mean, perhaps the aptly named Cala Turqueta (turquoise bay) in the west.

Restaurante Es Cranc

Having taken in a few breathtaking vistas it was time to seek out the driving force behind this pilgrimage of the palette; lunch! Restaurante Es Cranc is in the north of the island. It is traditional but not stuffy, unfussy but unsurpassed in service, a little rustic (you will receive a bib), and overall a wonderful Mecca of Red Lobster.

Now, we would suggest that food like this is best enjoyed with the finest white wines that are available to the lucky diner, but there is plenty on offer in the food alone, for teetotallers and beer drinkers alike, so let’s get started with the gastronomy…

Tortillitas de Gambas

First up were the Tortillitas de Gambas, a nod to the food of Andalusia (watch this space for more). This delicious tapa consists of crisp fried prawn cakes, which proved to be a mouthwatering and perfect opener to our Menorcan food fiesta. Next, Cigalas a la Plancha, better known in English as grilled crayfish. This time around the ingredients were allowed to do the talking. A simple preparation of the freshest and highest quality crayfish was just delicious.

Caldereta de Langosta

Then the main event, Caldereta de Langosta. This dish came about in the early twentieth century when, as with so many coastal classics, fishermen would eat it daily. Today, Caldereta is the hallmark of the Bay of Fornells, home to Es Cranc. The crustaceans are brought to their flavoursome potential in a clay pot, on a base of tomato, peppers, onion and few more essentials. The richness of the flavour (coupled with a little vino blanco) was worth the trip alone.

And so, replete after some of the finest cuisine that the Balearics have to offer, and having enjoyed one of the best things to do in Menorca, we re-boarded our airborne taxi to Barcelona to plan our next gastronomic getaway. It won’t be long before we return. With the amazing beaches on offer and many more foodie treats to enjoy, how could we not come back soon? And did anyone say Menorca gin…

 

For more information on where to go in Menorca or the other Balearic islands, or to start discussing and planning your perfect trip with us, just leave us a few details.

Main photo by Tom Grimbert