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Visiting Porto

December 24, 2012
Question by: Torben, Copenhagen, DK

Q:

Would appreciate any word of advice for four guys going to Portugal, for a lesson in the art of produce - tasting and finding vintage port, maybe bring home a rare bottle or two at a favourable purchase - compared to availability or prices in Denmark.  We will arrive on January 4. and will stay in the region for 4 days, maybe you know of something "portvine related" going on in that period...?  Thanks in advance - "The Danish Port Vine Lovers Vintage Dream Team;)..."

A:

Hi Torben, When you come to Porto, be sure to cross the famous Ponte Dom Luis to Vila Nova de Gaia and visit the "caves" - the Port wine tasting rooms.  Graham's Lodge is located near the top of the hill overlooking the river, on Rua Rei Ramiro - see the Contacts Page of the Graham's Lodge website for more details of location and opening hours.  Your tour will include the recently opened new 1890 Lodge visitor centre with a wonderful small museum, as well as a tour of our magnificent working Lodge, and a tasting.  Our tour guides can answer all your questions about how our Ports are made, our quintas, and our wines.  The staff in the Lodge Shop will be able to advise you about which Ports would be best to take home with you or ship back to Denmark.

Be aware many of the Gaia tasting rooms are only open Monday to Friday during the winter season and may close at lunch time - call or email ahead to be sure of opening hours.  Graham's hours are posted on the Contact page linked above. 

If you have a car, by all means explore the Douro.  All of Symington's quintas are private homes and working farms, not open to the public, but there are many vantage points ("miradouro") along the roads with fantastic views over the vineyards and river, one of the most famous being São Salvador do Mundo near São João de Pesqueira in the Douro Superior.  We are fond of Provesende, a small village high on the hill overlooking Pinhão.  If the weather permits and you are fairly intrepid, there is a 5k hiking path from Provesende down the valley to the village of Pinhão, which passes through or near many famous quintas, including Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha.  If you have no car, you could take a train to Pinhão, taxi up to Provesende and then walk back down ("down" being key here - it is a drop of about 500 metres from Provesende to the river). 

Another option, accessible by car or train, is the Museu do Douro in Regua, which in addition to the main museum has a second building with an excellent display about the history and methods of winemaking in the region.  According to their Contacts page they are open Tuesday through Sunday.

Enjoy your visit!



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