A warm welcome to all of the members of our Aroma Tours Newsletter in over 30 countries around the world.
Robbi and I will currently on the Cote d'Azur enjoying the wonderful Mediterranean sea views with our dear friends Gavin and Edith and soon we will be welcoming our lovely guests for our Treasures of Provence ( ladies only ) tour.
Provence this year has been so beautiful and are hearts are full with all of the delightful experiences that we have shared with our guests, with many more to come.
We have been celebrating our 25 years of Aroma Tours with vigour and as we continue throttling back the number of tours that we will be hosting, Robbi and I feel truly blessed to once again be sharing our passion for the fabulous places and experiences that we love, with delightful people from around the world.
This year as we have previously reported, is our most successful tour season ever, with all of our tours sold out and next years tours already filling fast! As always, it is our returning guests and their friends who are leading this fabulous response.
Without doubt, the main reason that we have grown and flourished over the years, is the on-going support we have received from our past Aroma Travellers and we are thrilled to see that they continue to make up almost 65% of our guests!
We would also like to give our heart-felt thanks to all of you who continue to support us with your kind words and referrals.
Robbi and I also greatly appreciate the wonderful words of thanks we have received over the years and have added a new compilation of Guest Comments to our site.
One of the best ways to enjoy the spirit of our adventures is by taking a peek at some of the photos we have taken during our Aroma Tours 2019 season in Spain and France ( more lovely photos to follow ).
For convenience we have added 2 new photo pages to our archives for your viewing pleasure.
We also invite you visit our other Photo Galleries Pages to enjoy more of the 100's of other lovely photos of our aromatic adventures.
Join us in 2020 for a wonderful Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage along the route of the famous Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, beginning with the foodie heaven of the Basque country which has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin starred restaurants in the world.
We then weave our way west through a succession of glorious vistas and cuisines until we reach the magnificent world heritage city of Santiago de Compostella in the seafood paradise of Galicia.
We will journey through spectacular countryside, staying in magnificent 5 star hotels, visit Templar castles, stunning cathedrals and venerable wine estates, enjoy guided walks through fascinating old quarters and picturesque seaside villages and experience a little walking on the pilgrims way of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Click here for more photos of our Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage
We are now down to the last few places for this amazing Michelin star studded experience - time for some delicious Carpe Diem.
One of the great pleasures for Robbi and I after each tour season is receiving messages of thanks from our Aroma Travellers. We have compiled a few below from our past adventures and hope that you enjoy reading about their experiences with us.
Glorious leisurely gourmet lunch in a beautiful 2 star Michelin restaurant in Spain - joyful and delicious!
Robbi and I are thrilled to see the outstanding response for our 2019 season with all of our tours sold out.
The current booking status for our 2019 season at the time of this newsletter is:-
|List of Tours for 2019|
|Flavours of Spain||20 - 27 May 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage||27 May - 3 June 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Flavours of France (invite only)||10 - 17 June 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Heart of Provence||24 June - 1 July 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Essential Provence||1 - 8 July 2019||SOLD OUT|
Treasures of Provence
(ladies only special event)
|12 - 19 July 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Sojourn in Provence (private group)||20 - 27 July 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Aromas of Tuscany||3 - 10 September 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Flavours of Italy||110 - 17 September 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Bali Women's Retreat||7 - 14 September 2019||SOLD OUT|
|Bali Women's Retreat||16 - 23 September 2019||SOLD OUT|
Our 2020 season is already off to a flying start with all of our tours either half full or almost sold out:-
|List of Tours for 2020|
|Flavours of Spain||18 - 25 May 2020||3 vacancies|
|Spanish Gourmet Pilgrimage||25 May - 1 June 2020||4 vacancies|
|Heart of Provence||22 - 29 June 2020||4 vacancies|
|Essential Provence||29 June - 6 July 2020||6 vacancies|
Treasures of Provence
(ladies only special event)
|10 - 17 July 2020||2 vacancies|
|Aromas of Tuscany||1 - 8 September 2020||7 vacancies|
|Flavours of Italy||8 - 15 September 2020||8 vacancies|
|Bali Women's Retreat||5 - 12 September 2020||SOLD OUT|
|Bali Women's Retreat||14 - 21 September 2020||3 vacancies|
Rioja [pronounced: ree oh ha] in the north of Spain is a land redolent with aromatic plants
such as thyme, rosemary and juniper growing alongside sweeping rows of
It is also blessed with a diversity of terrain, a rich historic heritage and is the finest place on earth to grow tempranillo grapes.
Many people are not familiar with this particular grape variety, however, during the 19th century Phylloxera outbreak in Bordeaux that devastated the vines of that region [ and many others as well ], it was to Rioja that the Bordelaise turned in order to replace their missing stocks.
Tempranillo, with its weight, structure and balance of flavour closely resembling the cabernet-merlot blends typical of Bordeaux was a godsend, and for two decades this previously little known grape, travelled north along a purpose built railway line to bolster the wines of that most prestigious of French wine regions.
This exchange also resulted in Rioja benefiting from the experience and expertize of the Bordelaise who introduced barrel aging and other refined techniques of winemaking to Rioja.
Today Rioja is one of the world's great wine regions with 57,000 hectares under cultivation, yielding more than 250 million litres of wine per year. In size it rivals nearby Bordeaux and is significantly larger than the Cote du Rhone.
Rioja is quite diverse with three principal regions:-
Tempranillo is the main grape variety and is complimented by Garnacha Tinta [Grenache], Graciano, and Mazuelo. A typical blend consists of approximately 60% Tempranillo and up to 20% Garnacha along with the remaining balance made up of Mazuelo and Graciano mainly for colour and aromatic interest.
Traditionally it was not uncommon for the red wines of Rioja to be aged for 15 years or more before their release. This dedication to quality is still clearly apparent in the contemporary wines of Rioja, although most bodegas [wineries] have shifted their winemaking focus to shorter maturation times with top wines typically aging for 4-8 years prior to release. There has also been a slow evolution in the use of oak barrels from French to American and then back to French or a blend of the two.
Rioja red wines are classified into four categories:-
This may well be way too much information, and suffice it to say the most important thing is the wine in the glass you are holding, but knowing a little about the traditions and environment of a wine is a lovely way to add to the enjoyment.
There is also a great deal of cultural history in this region for us to explore, juxtaposed with amazing modern architectural wonders, all of which we will be part of our experiences during our Flavours of Spain Tour.
As well as couples and friends travelling together, we are regularly joined by solo travellers - mostly women, who appreciate being able to journey with liked minded people from around the world, without the need to do all the planning and take on the daunting task of touring by themselves.
Joining one of our small group tours is easy and we have already made all of the arrangements on your behalf to ensure that you have a delightful, stress-free holiday with the focus on having fun.
Having a ready-made group of friends to travel with, and us to take wonderful care of you is the way to go!
We have carefully crafted off-the-beaten-path itineraries that are the perfect balance of structure, experiences, details and free time to enjoy in your own way.
There have been a significant number of guests over the years who and have joined us multiple times, some of whom have become dear friends.
Robbi and I look forward to welcoming you to one of our delightful tours or retreats as we continue moving towards our retirement in the next few years.
Jim and Robbi