A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post your experiences of travel, especially for the Douro region. Make recommendations for places to stay and visit or ask advice from those that have already been there.
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SCP
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A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post by SCP » 19:01 Tue 10 May 2016

Taking advantage of the first May bank holiday weekend (it isn't a bank holiday Monday in Portugal, so everything was open), four of us took in the delights of Porto and the Douro Valley. A few notes on the trip follow, but suffice it to say that I noted at least 42 ports tasted in the course of the three days. The weather was also perfectly sunny and warm (but not too hot) throughout.

Saturday - a day trip by train up to Pinhao
We visited Dow' Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta de la Rosa - I don't believe either were open when I visited two years ago.
Both had glorious views over the river and quintas where we enjoyed a few glasses - good to see Bomfim had other SFE ports for tasting.
After our initial tasting at Quinta de la Rosa, we had an hour before the train, so had to pass the time with their 2009 VP and some cheese. Quinta de la Rosa looks like a very nice place to stay for a night or two.

Both Sat and Sun evenings we went to the reopened Vinologia (now Portologia?), which had a similar selection to previously, although I actually preferred the older surroundings. The new style is rather bright and modern for my taste.

Sunday and Monday - visiting Vila Nova de Gaia
Lunch at Vinum on the Sunday was superb (steak in particular), as it was the 1st May there appeared to be a flotilla (of boats) loitering in the harbour.
Most of both of these days were spent wandering between lodges and showing different styles of port to my companions. Disappointingly, Taylor did not have any proper Vintage port to taste (some Vargellas 2002) - a shame and a wasted opportunity, as I was sold on it after I tasted the 2007 vintage during my 2011 visit.

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AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
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Re: A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post by AHB » 08:47 Thu 12 May 2016

Did you get the chance to visit the Graham museum at the lodge when you lunched at Vinum? I've not been round the museum yet and would be interested to hear your impressions.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

PhilW
Dow 1980
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Re: A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post by PhilW » 09:52 Thu 12 May 2016

SCP wrote:Both Sat and Sun evenings we went to the reopened Vinologia (now Portologia?), which had a similar selection to previously, although I actually preferred the older surroundings. The new style is rather bright and modern for my taste.
Vinologia vs Portologia - they are different premises; Last year Daniel and I were in Porto in September and found that the shop (on the corner of Rua de Sao Joao/Rua do Infante D. Henrique) which had been Vinologia had closed, and was being re-fitted as Portologia (not open) at the time. We thought that Vinologia must have either closed, been bought out or re-branded, but then by chance we then found Vinologia themselves at their new premises a very short distance further down the road (at 28/30 Rua de Sao Joao, not on a corner) which was open and treated us very well (I don't know why they moved). If you were in Portologia, what was the range of available ports like; any VP, and if so was it recently opened etc?

SCP
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Re: A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post by SCP » 11:26 Sun 15 May 2016

PhilW wrote:
SCP wrote:Both Sat and Sun evenings we went to the reopened Vinologia (now Portologia?), which had a similar selection to previously, although I actually preferred the older surroundings. The new style is rather bright and modern for my taste.
Vinologia vs Portologia - they are different premises; Last year Daniel and I were in Porto in September and found that the shop (on the corner of Rua de Sao Joao/Rua do Infante D. Henrique) which had been Vinologia had closed, and was being re-fitted as Portologia (not open) at the time. We thought that Vinologia must have either closed, been bought out or re-branded, but then by chance we then found Vinologia themselves at their new premises a very short distance further down the road (at 28/30 Rua de Sao Joao, not on a corner) which was open and treated us very well (I don't know why they moved). If you were in Portologia, what was the range of available ports like; any VP, and if so was it recently opened etc?
We were further down the street, so I think at the newly reopened Vinologia. They had a similar selection to the last time I went to Vinologia, including Dalva 63 GW, a strong selection of Colheitas, tawnies and vintage ports from lesser-known producers. We tasted 20yo tawnies (San Leonardo, Bulas and Q. de Santa Eufemia), VPs (Quinta de San Pedro 2000, Quinta de Praleta 2011 and Quinta de Lamelas 2010), plus the Dalva 63 GW. VPs were rather disappointing, being a little raw and lacking in fruit, despite their youth.

SCP
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Re: A long weekend in Porto and the Douro

Post by SCP » 11:32 Sun 15 May 2016

AHB wrote:Did you get the chance to visit the Graham museum at the lodge when you lunched at Vinum? I've not been round the museum yet and would be interested to hear your impressions.
This was actually the second time I've been in the new museum since it opened, so I didn't pay as much attention. I remember there is an interesting collection of old documents and notes (e.g. winemaker notes, harvesting instructions), deeds of sale etc to browse before the tour proper starts and well worth a few minutes. The documentary to start is informative, but feels a little "corporate". The museum also has a few interest tools that were used in the quintas, but these tend to be skipped over. The cellars are as impressive as ever, we saw the old racks of VP and plenty of barrels, including the three that made up the Queen's 90th Jubilee port. The regular tasting room has a pleasant light atmosphere and the premium one has both backlit tables (for colour/clarity determination), as well as comfy leather armchairs that would befit donning a smoking jacket (but no cigar allowed), slippers and enjoying a glass of port.

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