WINES OF SPAIN: Murrieta Capellanía 2014

 

Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta (La Rioja):

If we talk about Rioja wine, we talk about the Marqués de Murrieta winery, since in 1852 Don Luciano Murrieta made the first Rioja wines and brought the Bordeaux practices to Spain.

Capellanía Reserva 2014:

Capellanía Reserva 2014 is a white wine that breaks all standards due to its complexity and structure. It is made with the magnificent Viura del Pago de Capellanía, a vineyard of more than 70 years located in the highest area of Finca Ygay, the most prestigious of Marqués de Murrieta. A white wine with character and great bouquet, born to surprise for its uniqueness. Perfect to accompany a wide variety of dishes from fish to meat and Iberian and with a great potential for longevity to evolve and last in the bottle.
Being raised for a year and a half in new French oak barrels and one year in bottle, it brings an amazing complexity, structure and elegance to this 2014 vintage, which has been rated as excellent. Bright golden yellow, its nose is complex and deep with flavours ranging from fresh almonds to delicate white stone fruits. The palate is voluminous and elegant, fresh and with a very good acidity. A great white with the soul of a red wine.

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WINES OF SPAIN: Almazcara Majara 2010

 

Wines of Spain: Almazcara Majara 2010

El Bierzo:

The land of El Bierzo is located northwest of the province of León. It has a characteristic Mediterranean micro-climate, with milder temperatures than the bordering areas and its low altitude generally prevents late frosts which is quite benign for the harvest that is usually one month ahead of the rest of La Ribera del Duero and La Rioja. In El Bierzo, the vineyard is mainly oriented on soils of moist brown earth, slightly acidic and therefore with absence of carbonates, typical of humid climates. The determining factors of quality are in the terraces of little inclination where the vines are located very next to the rivers or in semiagcated hillsides or in vineyards of pronounced inclination and in altitudes between 450 and 1,000 meters.

Almazcara Majara:

Wine made from 100% Mencía grapes, from our vineyards located in the district of Los Barrios, Ponferrada. The first vintage was that of 2004. The vineyards are located between 500-600 meters above sea level. The climate is continental, with a contrast of temperatures, maximum-minimum, pronounced that favor the development of the aromas and the color of this wine.

Discover our unique gastronomic experience tasting wines and visiting vineyards and cellars

 

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RESTAURANTS OF SPAIN, Atxondo (Bilbao): Asador Etxebarri

Asador Etxebarri (Bittor Arguinzoniz): the Best Grill in the World. 1 Michelin ⭐

Nestled deep in the Atxondo valley, at the foothills of the magical Mt. Anboto, we find Etxebarri.

Far from the noise, the restaurant preserves ancient techniques of grill cooking using carefully selected firewood from different trees to work in harmony with the locally cultivated, natural produce, to offer endless possibilities of truly wonderful dishes. Etxebarri does not have to go back to try a new dish but to want to enjoy a good meal.

This philosophy connects perfectly with another of the trends in the catering sector. Many clients, tired of the special effects and the scarce connection with the origins, return to value the authentic and the ancestral. The Etxebarri barbecue proposal has been cultivating this line of work for years.

There is an important nuance that distinguishes Etxebarri from the rest of the restaurants that are above him – and all those that are below – and that is that they are radically different from Etxebarri. To enter the kitchen of any of them is to enter almost always immense spaces with the appearance of an aerospace laboratory, full of chefs and high-tech pots: siphons, Thermomix, Roners…

Bittor, on the other hand, only uses the embers, a spray with oil and the spatula. The kitchen of Etxebarri is a room of barely eight square meters in the basement of the building, with cranks on the walls to raise and lower the grills at will and a wood oven on the back. The feeling of being inside a submarine of World War II increases when we measure the temperature in the area where, two seconds before, Bittor’s face was: 76 degrees Celsius constant throughout the lunch service.

Green beans, oysters, squid, prawns, mushrooms, eels, caviar, butter, tuna, steak … are some of their proposals. And all of them grilled!

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RESTAURANTS OF SPAIN, BARCELONA: Estimar

Estimar: best fish and seafood Barcelona restaurant. 1 Michelin ⭐

Rafa Zafra, ex chef of the starry Hacienda Benazuza (Sevilla) and executive chef at Heart (Ibiza), has made his dream come true, a small shop near Santa María del Mar whose kitchen pays tribute to the raw material, and above all, to that fresh fish that comes to you from Roses every day, from the hand of Anna Gotanegra.

The Passion of the Gotanegra family by the sea dates back to 1895, when Dionisia Marco started buying fish in the Sant Pere de Rosas square to go to sell it walking to Figueras. More than 120 years have passed and five Gotanegra generations continue to buy fish at the Port of Rosas (Girona). It is his most personal project, where he tries to transmit his cuisine and the purest feeling of love towards the Mediterranean by paying homage and reflecting on the products of the sea.

The star dishes:

  • Anchovies in specially selected organic extra virgin olive oil oil.
  • Red shrimp carpaccio with Beluga caviar, tasting symphony.
  • The Tataki is a fresh and intense dish, where the bluefin tuna has a leading role.
  • Red prawn of Rosas, a delight of the sea.
  • Sea bass Donosti style.

In addition, the menu splashes foam with monumental oysters, clams style Bilbao, mackerel in vinegar, mussels grilled, crayfish carpaccio, pickled razor clams, fried squid with mayonnaise in its ink, stripe in marinade, turbot…

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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:

 

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

Michelin Starred Restaurants

OUR TOP 7 MICHELIN STARRED RESTAURANTS OF BARCELONA

Fine Dining in Barcelona

Barcelona is home to over 20 restaurants with Michelin stars, adding up to 30 stars in total! Food lovers are spoiled for choice in this foodie-friendly Mediterranean city but with so many options it’s hard to know which restaurants to put at the top of your list. From traditional Catalonian tapas to Asian fusion, all infused with creativity, innovation, and intense flavours, these 7 restaurants are not to be missed on your trip to Barcelona.

Discover our Barcelona Exclusive Dining Experiences and how we can make your visit to Barcelona a remarkable gastronomic exeperiencies. Or would you dare to take a jet and go for a gastronomic getaway in the Basque Country or Balearic Islands?

Restaurante LasarteLasarte

With the personal stamp of restaurateur Martin Berasategui and head chef Paolo Casagrande, this Barcelona restaurant offers a unique Michelin starred dining experience. The food is a Catalonian take on Basque cuisine, with a Mediterranean twist from the sea. Every dish involves intense colour and overwhelming aromas, and each will engage all of your senses. There are no average dishes at Lasarte, and as the only Barcelona restaurant with 3 Michelin stars, it is a must for the gastronomic itinerary of any luxury traveller.

EnotecaEnoteca

Located in the bright and open Hotel Arts in the centre of Barcelona, the warm lighting and rustic design of Enoteca make it the perfect place for relaxed dining. The outdoor terrace is beautiful if you would like an al fresco experience of the contemporary Mediterranean cuisine of Catalan chef, Paco Perez. Perez has trained alongside great icons like Michel Guerard and Ferran Adria and has a total of five Michelin stars attached to his name. Constantly in search of culinary innovations, Perez places great emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, especially fish and seafood. Enoteca’s wine cellar has over 700 labels sure to please every connoisseur. With two Michelin Stars, Enoteca is one Barcelona restaurant you really shouldn’t miss.

Restaurante Koy ShunkaKoy Shunka

If you know Catalonian food and are looking to branch out a little, Koy Shunka is the place for you. As the only Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in Barcelona, Koy Shunka offers upscale Japanese cuisine made from the freshest Mediterranean ingredients. The unobstructed view of the kitchen from every corner of the restaurant means you get to witness every aspect of the meal preparation, right in front of your eyes. For an authentic experience with a twist, try the superb nigiri and sushi.

Restaurante AbacÀbac

Located in a hotel sharing its name, on the edge of the city, Àbac boasts a luxurious, designer dining room for those looking to taste its modern and innovative cuisine. New food textures, combinations, and culinary methodologies await here, along with perfect presentation and a comfortable ambience that makes for an exquisite dining experience for any traveller. Àbac classifies its food as 50% tradition and 50% avant-garde for a 100% perfect meal. Head chef Jordi Cruz earned his first Michelin star at the age of 25 and is considered to be the rising star of Catalan cuisine. One of his most loved dishes is a deconstructed version of the Spanish childhood dessert known as ‘the pink panther’ – a cream-filled cake with pink icing.

MomentsMoments

Within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the centre of Barcelona, is Moments, one of the city’s best restaurants. The menu features Ruscalleda cuisine from Catalan-style cod ceviche with Indian cress petals, to Galician scallop (petxina de pellegri) or Sea urchin fritters (bunyols) that offer a truly unique experience. Head Chef Raul Balam creatively delivers exquisite dishes that will overwhelm your senses through flavour and texture. This Barcelona restaurant is innovative and able to reinterpret tradition through contemporary cuisine. If you are looking for a high-quality dining experience in a luxurious setting, Moments is for you!

GaigGaig

In the heart of Eixample Esquerra, one of Barcelona’s most desirable districts, elegance and culinary skill come together at Gaig. The interior with its clean lines and modern feel sets the stage for Catalonian flavours with a contemporary twist. The head chef, Carles Gaig, was trained in his former family restaurant where he worked as a child and until taking over the reins in the 70s due to his mother’s blindness. He cooks traditional Catalan recipes from his roots, with passion and creativity. Founded in 1869, this restaurant is a Barcelona institution that you don’t want to miss and by which your taste buds will surely not be disappointed. If you do visit Gaig, do not pass up the famous cannelloni!

Dos PalillosDos Palillos

Albert Raurich, the former chef de cuisine in elBulli, says: “Life in elBulli shaped our way of thinking, understanding and doing our passion for the cuisine and our utmost respect for the raw material, and the concept of the tapa as a way of understanding gastronomy through simplicity within complexity.” This is what shapes the menu at Dos Palillos, through a fusion of Asian and Catalonian cuisine. The restaurant is the perfect blend of a blue-collar bar and haute-cuisine Asian restaurant, a place where there are no tables and you sit right in front of the kitchen. The way to authentically experience Dos Palillos is through the tasting menu, but if you prefer something smaller, try the dim sum and a la carte street food at the bar.

 

If you’ve had the pleasure of dining at one of these restaurants, leave your review in the comments to help other luxury foodies decide!

Main photo by Tom Grimbert