Day 1 - Saturday, May 12:
Arrival by group airfare, or your independent travel to Seville where your adventure commences. This corner of Spain was originally inhabited by a strong Iberian culture then, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and in 206 BC the Romans arrived, ruling for 700 years, until replaced by the Visigoths from the north. The Moors from North Africa then invaded dominating much of Spain for almost 700 years leaving a legacy of science, agriculture, architecture, and cuisine.
In 1492 with the fall of Granada to the Catholic monarchs, Isabella and Fernando the reunification of Spain was complete and an era of imperial expansion and prosperity, which included the discovery of the New World began. With ships sailing from and returning to Seville the city became one of the most affluent and cultured in Europe.
Check into the five-star Hotel Palacio de Villapanés, originally an 18th century palace, with free time to relax or explore the neighborhood as you wish. At 8:00 pm we meet in the dining room for our welcome banquet.
Day 2 - Sunday, May 13:
Two full days of sightseeing in this fabulous, historic city. Some of the highlights include: a guided walking tour with visits to Maria Luisa Park, Plaza de España, Barrio Santa Cruz, and Plaza de Triunfo, and a stroll along the Guadalquivir River opposite the ancient seafaring neighbourhood of El Arenal, from where we will view the iconic Torre del Oro the symbol of the city and harbour. Also included is admission to the magnificent Cathedral with the Giralda tower which dominates the Seville skyline and the Museo de Bellas Artes where we will find works by Murillo, Velazquez, Zubaran, Valdes Leal, and El Greco.
Seville’s golf experience will be at the remarkable Real Club Sevilla, which has hosted the Ryder Cup, two World Cup Championships as well as two Spanish opens.
At the end of each day and perhaps following a few tapas we will indulge in specially prepared meals at the outstanding Restaurante Salvador Rojo and the traditionally delightful Robles Placentines; in each case our meals will be paired with flights of wines to accompany our dishes.
On our last evening is this special and historic city, as an added slice if culture, you will experience a little of what the south of Spain is known for, “flamenco” during a performance that is both artistic and intense.
Day 3 - Monday, May 14:
Day 4 - Tuesday, May 15:
Breakfast at the hotel before boarding our coach for the short drive to Jerez de la Frontera, capital of the Sherry wine region. On arrival we check into our home for the next 6 nights, the charming Hotel Sherry Park conveniently located in the city centre. Following time to check in, we are invited to the Consejo Regulador the Regulatory Counsel of the Sherry region your introduction to this superior elixir.
Sherry is white wine that few understand and most presume is simply a sweet drink that Auntie enjoyed in the afternoon…hardly!! Sherry is vinified bone dry. Fino and Manzanilla are pale straw-coloured, elegant and yeasty in character. Served chilled, they are arguably the world’s most sophisticated aperitif. Amontillado is golden in colour and more pungent, with a bouquet of hazelnuts and wonderful old wine. Oloroso is darker amber and richer on the nose, with a full bouquet of dried fruit. A sweetened Oloroso is a Cream Sherry and there is the exquisitely rich and sweet Pedro Ximenez (PX). As the world comes to discover these fine wines, the costs will begin to soar, although today, high quality Sherry, with years if not decades of aging in barrel, continue to be available at a fraction of their true value.
We then depart on our walking tour of the city centre which will include the Moorish Alcazar fortress and the ancient walls of the city, the spectacular Cathedral of Jerez including superb works of art by Zurbaran and Murillo, and the delightful plazas of this special corner of Spain. We then return to our hotel for a “copa” and tapas.
Day 5 - Wednesday, May 16:
Five days filled with wine, cuisine, golf, and a splash of sightseeing in addition to any exploration you may undertake on your own. By the time we say “adios” to Jerez de la Frontera you will have a much better understanding of the this special place in Spain and the vinous jewel, Sherry!
Highlights of our visits in Sherry include:
- The Consejo Regulador—the Regulatory Counsel for Sherry and Brandy de Jerez for an educational introduction to the region and the wine.
- An informative, guided walking tour.
- Visits to bodegas to experience how Sherry is created in its various styles all with much in common, while being unique.
- At Gonzalez Byass, we will experience an illuminating seminar and tasting at this venerable and architecturally notable bodega established in 1835 followed by dinner in the bodega which will include the family’s red wines from their Bodegas Beronia in Rioja and their superb red from just outside the Sherry region, Bodegas Finca Moncloa and assuredly a copa of Lepanto Brandy de Jerez, Gran Reserva, after dinner.
- On a much smaller and charming scale, at Bodegas Fernando de Castilla, while we will participate in a tour and Sherry tasting we will also experience the bodega’s range of stunning Brandy de Jerez. A hearty Andalusian dinner in the bodega will follow, during which we will also be poured the bodega’s superb red wine, Bodegas Huerta de Albala. And of course, Brandy de Jerez, Gran Reserva will follow!
- Bodegas Tradicion while originally established in 1650 by the Rivero family, achieved great fame in the 19th century and was invigorated in the 1990s by decedent, Joaquin Rivero, who with the great Jose Ignacio Domecq, established one of the most “traditional” and remarkable boutique Sherry bodegas. And the Brandy de Jerez Gran Reserva superb! During our tour and structured tasting, we will be able to view Sr. Rivero’s outstanding art collection which includes, Zubaran, Valazquez, Hiepes, Valdes Leal, Goya, and El Greco and more. Again access to the inner sanctum we will dine in the bodega.
- After golf on the Mediterranean (see below) we will dine in the acclaimed, Restaurante La Carbona in Jerez.
- We will also visit another town of the Sherry Triangle, Sanlucar de Barrameda where the elegant Manzanilla Sherry is created in this unique, more humid micro-climate at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River on the Atlantic. In Sanlucar we will visit the ancient Bodegas Barbadillo, established in 1821, to experience their superb range of Manzanilla Sherry and their historic Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, and PX.
- Also in Sanlucar de Barrameda we will dine at Casa Bigote “seafood heaven” with dishes paired with the Manzanilla Sherries of Bodegas Barbadillo.
- As Jerez is also closely associated with Carthusian horses or “Cartujanos”, the performance at the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, is a delight, you are certain to enjoy.
- A visit to “El Palacio de Tiempo" The Palace of Time (or The Clock Museum) is remarkable - expect significantly more than just clocks!
- On our final evening in Jerez, there will be a wonderful gala surprise this evening is more dressy, you will assuredly not be disappointed!
For the golfers while in Jerez; you will enjoy rounds of golf at:
- Sherry Golf, an excellent course near Jerez with “a tremendous layout and views to die for”, “one of the best in Europe”
- Novo Santi Petri, again one of Spain’s best, designed by Severiano Ballesteros on the Atlantic.
- Alcaidesa Links, Old Course, San Roque, a renowned championship course with incredible views of the Mediterranean and Gibraltar.
Day 6 - Thursday, May 17:
Day 7 - Friday, May 18:
Day 8 - Saturday, May 19:
Day 9 - Sunday, May 20:
Day 10 - Monday, May 21:
Morning departure from Jerez as we make our way to Granada. En route we will stop in Ronda a picturesque, mountaintop city in Spain’s Malaga province that’s set dramatically above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, has a lookout offering spectacular views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Late afternoon arrival in Granada where we will check into the beautiful Alhambra Palace Hotel. Dinner tonight will be on the patio of Restaurante Mirador de Morayma, overlooking the monumental Alhambra fortress.
Day 11 - Tuesday, May 22:
Today is dedicated to visiting Granada including a timed entry to the magnificent Alhambra Palace of the Moorish kings, and the Cathedral with the Royal Chapel and many remarkable works of art. Farewell dinner this evening at the Alhambra Palace.
Day 12 - Wednesday, May 23:
Breakfast at the hotel before we give our found farewells… Until the next time!