My trip to portugal

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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g-man
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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My trip to portugal

Post by g-man » 17:14 Mon 16 May 2011

Started meeting the fellow TPF members in London on my birthday and was treated to some fantastic wines and even better company.

It was a pleasure to meet Alex again and get acquainted with Jacob, UncleTom and Wolfgang.
Next time, I think i'll take Uncle Tom's cue to order two steaks instead of one at the crusting pipe!

Onto lisbon:
We spent the morning wondering around downtown lisbon hitting up cafe brasilia and sitting next ot the bronze statue of a poet. Got lost on a bunch of hills before we ended up at garafeirria nacional and my jaws just dropped at the prices of port. Fonseca 85 for 500 Euros?!?! Dinner was at a nice restaurant around the area but was awkward being the only table filled.

Next day was at sintra where we hiked the palace, the castle and the town. I must say, one thing about portugal is definitely bring your Hill legs. I hiked almost 10 miles across various hills and steps. Swinging by into the historic center, I swung into another wine shop. A group of tourists were there before me and whipped out a tour book and asked the shop owner "The book says this is the best, do you sell"
to which the store owner kindly replied "Ah yes, it is the best, Noval 2003 is 750 euros, you don't want that you want, ( i can't remember but it was a house i've never heard of before) for 70 Euros, it's just as good and cheaper"
Shocked, i think that would be it for any sort of souvenir I'm bringing home.
We wandered back into lisbon and took the train out to Belem to meet up with Roy Hersh! for dinner at a very good fish restaurant where we shared a 2.25 kilo crab.
Afterwards Roy generously shared the niepoort 20 yr tawny with us at his hotel.

Our final day in lisbon was meant to be relaxing. We spent the day at Cascais on the beach. There was a local fish monger that made a fantastic bachalou bouillabaisse that was just fantastic. Back to Belem to try the Belem bakery and was run over by a bus of 100 chinese tourists pressing up in front of the line! Getting back to lisbon we stopped by the Solar Vinhos bar, but they didn't take credit cards that day, so no port for me. =(

Finally onto porto, but we stopped by a town midway called Mealhada.
Mealhada is a small town that's known for it's Liertos (suckling pigs). However no one at the station spoke any english at all and we didn't remember the name of the restaurant. We spent an hour wandering around the town trying to get internet reception on the phone, until I finally found a cafe with a dingy computer in the back. Pedros dos Liertos was an awesome place to grab lunch. The pig skin was crispy, the meat was tender and incredibly flavorful. It was defintiely a good lunch place to tide one over on the long train ride up to porto.

we got in late unfortunately and didn't get a hcance to hit any of the wineries, but did manage to walk around porto proper. There are some very shady streets in porto and we accidentally wondered in one of the alleys where it looked like people were gambling in one of the shops. MORE HILLS! We stopped by vinologia and went through a tasting of houses I've never heard of but they were absolutely fantastic.
Tired and a bit buzzing, I forgot where I stumbled in for dinner.

The next day was a full day at Vila Nova Di Gaia. We walked across the bridge from porto to Vndg and tried to get a tour at Sandeman but it was completely booked as two tour buses stopped in right before us. Tried what used to be the old Hedges and Butler brand next door, but was not overly impressed with anything. So we hiked up the hill and stopped into the Taylor lodge for lunch. The taylor lodge is a fantastic place for lunch and the prices were very reasonable. The 1988 Terra Fiete was absolutely fantastic. We then began the long march over to the Graham's lodge.

At the Graham's lodge we were greeted by Luis. These guys were awesome! Incredibly friendly, informative and showed a great interest in port. Out of all the lodges we wandered into the Graham's staff showed a genuine love of port. Doing a tour of the cellars we sat down for my first serious tasting in portugal. I think I sat at the lodge for over 2 hours just tasting and chatting with the staff until they locked the gates and my wife dragged me out, with a bottle of 79 Grahams Malvedos in magnum =). As the night was cooler, we headed back into porto for some dinner. They had this dish I forget the name of (Bitoque?) where they took a toast, topped a steak on top, threw some ham on that with a runny egg all over gravy. That was fantastic!

The next morning, we began our trip over to Pinhao. Getting in just in time for Paul, who Oscar at Quevedo arranged to pick us up and drive us over to the winery for lunch and tasting. It was an incredibly windy road overlooking the valley, but the view was just breath taking. We ended up in ferradosa at a fantastic restaurant where we had braised pork with rice and veggies paired with Oscar's line up of dry reds and whites ending with his 2008 SQVP.

We head back to Quevedo winery and ran through a whole bunch of barrel samples. The 1994 Quevedo Colheita was most impressive and one I would definitely look for in the states!

The day was getting dark so we headed back to our hotel at quinta de la rosa. As pinhao is a very quiet town with TERRIBLE food, I ended up with a bottle of 92 Quinta de losa and sat in the pool.

Next morning we did a tour of quinta de la rosa and walked around pinhao to end up at the vintage house for a light lunch. Alas we were in a rush to catch the train so I missed out on a bunch of decanters they had opened.

Last night in porto, we at a Churrascharia after spending the last few days just walking around and smelling the intoxicating roasted beef aromas coming out of these restaurants. I think I had the beef sweats for 4 hours afterwards, but was thoroughly pleased.

This was a very fun trip and I came home 5kg heavier. I'd definitely recommend trying to walk through portugal again as it was a great workout and experience!

thanks to everyone for the hospitality and the help planning the trip!
Disclosure: Distributor of Quevedo wines and Quinta do Gomariz

Glenn E.
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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Re: My trip to portugal

Post by Glenn E. » 20:52 Mon 16 May 2011

g-man wrote:As pinhao is a very quiet town with TERRIBLE food, I ended up with a bottle of 92 Quinta de losa and sat in the pool.
Pinhao is indeed very quiet. Regarding food, though, has Ponte Romana closed? It wasn't going to win any Michelin stars, but it was good food and the staff was always friendly and happy to see tourists. It's on Rua de Santo Antonio on the right immediately after you cross the car bridge from Pinhao. As I recall the building was yellow the last time I was there.

Sounds like you had a great trip!
Glenn Elliott

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g-man
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Re: My trip to portugal

Post by g-man » 21:04 Mon 16 May 2011

Glenn E. wrote:
g-man wrote:As pinhao is a very quiet town with TERRIBLE food, I ended up with a bottle of 92 Quinta de losa and sat in the pool.
Pinhao is indeed very quiet. Regarding food, though, has Ponte Romana closed? It wasn't going to win any Michelin stars, but it was good food and the staff was always friendly and happy to see tourists. It's on Rua de Santo Antonio on the right immediately after you cross the car bridge from Pinhao. As I recall the building was yellow the last time I was there.

Sounds like you had a great trip!
ah, yes it was indeed still around however closed by the time we got into pinhao
Disclosure: Distributor of Quevedo wines and Quinta do Gomariz

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