Wine Tour of Northern Portugal – 2015

 

Another small group visit to Northern Portugal from 16th to 23rd June 2015.

TRIP REPORT

Day 1, Tuesday 16 June

  • 07.20 Flight to Porto from Manchester with easyJet
  • 10.10 Arrival in Porto and drive to Marialva
  • 14.00 Arrival in the village of Marialva. Reception and lunch at Casas do Côro

Lunch at Casas do Côro
We had:Cold vegetable soup, Salad with Iberian chorizo, Seasonal fruit and chocolate cake with yogurt ice cream
Wines: Casas do Côro Beira Interior White and Casas do Côro Beira Interior Red Reserva

5.30 pm: Departure to visit and dinner at Quinta de Ervamoira from Ramos Pinto.

(In 1974 José António Ramos Pinto Rosas, then manager of Ramos Pinto, acquired Quinta de Ervamoira. Challenging his nephew, João Nicolau de Almeida, they joined hands to create the first modern quinta of the Douro, thinking not only of Port Wine, but also Douro wines. In 1997 a museum was established, dedicated to local history and viti-vinicultural activities.)

  • Dinner at Ervamoira
    Codfish salad, Roast Beef with Port wine sauce, Almond pie
    Wines: Duas Quintas White, Duas Quintas Red and Tawny 10 Years Old Ramos Pinto

  • 9.30 pm: Night visit to the Paleolithic Site Engravers of Penascosa

    (Along the Côa River, a tributary of the Douro, the greatest known collection of open-air Palaeolithic rock art was engraved 25,000 years ago. Until its discovery in the 1990’s it was thought that the oldest artistic expression of mankind was written underground, in caves. Because of their uniqueness, quality and extent, these Palaeolithic rock art sites in the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley were classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.)

  • 12.30 am: Return to overnight at Casas do Côro.

Day 2, Wednesday 17 June

  • 10 am. Departure to visit and tasting at Quinta do Vale Meão (Barca Velha!) 

    In 1877, Antónia Adelaide Ferreira purchased 300 hectares of virgin land. This ambitious project took eight years to complete the famous Quinta do Vale Meão. It was here that in 1952 was created the mythical wine Barca Velha, by Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, at the time technical director and sommelier of Casa Ferreira. Presently the Quinta belongs to Olazábal & Sons Ltd., lead by the great-great grandson of Dona Antónia, Francisco Olazabal, which wines honor the tradition and innovation that have always been present at this Quinta.)

  • 12.30 pm. Departure to visit and lunch at Quinta do Vesúvio 

    (Quinta do Vesúvio is one of the most magnificent properties in the Douro Valley, located in the Douro Superior. Historical records mention Vesúvio as early as 1565. But it was in the 19th century, under the direction of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, that this Quinta gained its legendary reputation. In 1989 Quinta do Vesúvio was acquired by the Symington Family and since then, some of the greatest Vintage Ports of the Douro have been produced here.)

     www.symington.com

    Lunch at Quinta do Vesúvio
    Melon with ham
    Duck rice
    Cheese and seasonal fruit
    Wines: White Port Dow’s, Altano White, Pombal do Vesúvio Red and Vintage Quinta do Vesúvio.

  • 5.30 pm. Pick-up train to Pinhao.

    Transfer to Quinta do Bom Retiro. Reception and accommodation at the Quinta.
    Acquired in 1919 by Ramos Pinto and located in the heart of the Cima Corgo, river Torto valley, the Quinta do Bom Retiro is one of the oldest and most romantic quintas of the Douro. Here is produced one of the most acclaimed Tawny Port Wine, the 20 Years Old Quinta do Bom Retiro. A unique stay in a authentic Douro Quinta.

    Dinner and overnight at Bom Retiro.

    Dinner at Quinta do Bom Retiro
    Toast of Portuguese sausage (alheira)
    Roast Codfish
    Cheese and orange pudding
    Wines: Adriano Reserva White Port, Duas Quintas White Reserva, Duas Quintas Red Reserva, Tawny 20 Years Old and LBV (Late Bottled Vintage)

Day 3, Thursday 18 June

  • 11.30 am: Coach to Dirk Niepoort’s Quinta de Napoles for visit, tasting and lunch.

P1040507

  • 4.00 pm: Transfer to Pinhão.
  • 4.30 pm: Visit to Quinta do Bonfim.

    DSC_0244

    www.symington.com

    6.30 pm: Transfer for dinner (own account) at DOC Restaurant. Menu: a la carte.

    10.30 pm: Return to Quinta do Bom Retiro.

    DSC_0197

Day 4, Friday 19 June

  • 9 am Visit at Quinta do Noval followed by an early lunch.
    (The historic vineyard of Quinta do Noval has been producing great wines in the heart of the Douro valley since 1715. Noval is unique among the great traditional Port houses in the fact that its finest wines bear the name of the Quinta, and that the Port House itself is named after the Quinta. Noval produces great classic Vintage Ports that are harmonious and elegant expressions of a unique terroir.)
  • 2.22 pm Departure by train from Pinhão back to Porto.
  • 4.35 pm Arrive Porto
  • Transfer to Intercontinental Palacio das Cardosas Hotel
  • 7.45 pm Short walk to Cantinho do Avillez  –  http://cantinhodoavillez.pt/cantinho-porto/
  • 8.00 pm Dinner at Cantino do Avillez

Lunch at Quinta do Noval
Tomato with fresh cheese
Roast Kid with potatoes and vegetables
Baked pear in port wine or hot chocolate
Wines: Noval Extra Dry White, LBV and Tawny 10 Years Old. With the meal: Cedro do Noval White, Quinta Do Noval Red, Noval Vintage and Nacional 1996

PORTO

Saturday 20th June

  • 10h00 | Minibus collection from Hotel Intercontinental to Graham’s 1890 Lodge (Graham’s 1890 Lodge, Rua do Agro, 141, Santa Marinha, Vila Nova de Gaia)

DSC_0337

  • 10h30 | Private tour and tasting at Graham’s 1890 Lodge (Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2009, 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Tawnies and 1972 Tawny, Malvedos 2001 and Graham’s 2007 Vintage. The tasting was held in the Private Vintage Tasting Room with a personal sénior guide to show us around)
  • 12h30 | Lunch at Vinum Restaurant. (See menu below)

DSC_0364

DSC_0365

 

  • 19h45 | Minibus transfer to O Gaveto Restaurant (excellent seafood), A reservation for the group has been made . (see menu below)  http://ogaveto.com/
  • 20.30      Dinner (See menu below)

P1040554

  • 22.30      Minibus to hotel

 www.symington.com

Sunday 21st June

  • 08h30 | Minibus collection from Hotel Intercontinental to Anselmo Mendes Vinho Verde winery in Melçago (northern Portugal). The journey to Melgaço took 1 ½ hrs and Anselmo himself met the group in MONÇÃO to show the vineyards and give an explanation. We headed to his winery and then to his house for a tasting followed by lunch prepared and served by his wife Antonia.

http://www.anselmomendes.pt/pt/osvinhos

  • Return to Porto following lunch
  • Evening free

Monday 22nd June

  • 09h00 | Short walk to British Factory House (10 mts.)
  • 09h15 | Tour of Factory House with Manager Mrs. Olga Laçerda
  • 10h30 | Minibus collection from in front of Factory House to Amorim Cork 
  • 11h30 | Tour of facilities. Host Raul Valle +35196133356208

DSC_0479

  • 15h30 | Minibus transfer back to Intercontinental Hotel Palacio das Cardosas in Porto
  • Dinner at Cantina 32 with Jackie Dias of Symingtons.

Tuesday 23 June

  • 08.15| Minibus transfer to Porto airport for return flight back to Manchester at 10.20
Saying goodbye to the excellent coach driver Manuel at Porto airport

Saying goodbye to the excellent coach driver Manuel at Porto airport

 DOC RESTAURANT MENUS

Wine & Wine Events

MENUS À LA CARTE

TRAIN TO PORTO

A true engineering marvel when it opened in 1887, the Linha do Douro (Douro Line) still thrills passengers today. In its heyday it crossed the border to Spain (for a through service to Salamanca and Madrid) and sprouted some stunning valley branch lines, but even though the branch lines are no more, it’s still some ride – 160km of river-hugging track from Porto to Pocinho, via more than 20 tunnels, 30 bridges and 34 stations.

There are regular daily departures from Porto (São Bento and Campanhã) and you change on to the smaller Douro Line trains at Peso da Régua (just “Régua” on timetables). Régua also marks the point at which the Douro Line turns from a good route into a great one, sticking closely to the river from then on, clinging to the precipitous rocks as the river – and track – passes through the Douro gorge. Some of the stations are no more than a shelter on a platform, used by the local wine quintas, though there are useful stops at Pinhão (a pretty port-producing town), Tua (a cruise halt with a good restaurant) and finally Pocinho (for Vila Nova de Foz Câo and its rock art). – (Roughguides)

LUNCH AT VINUM RESTAURANT

Roast beef with “parmigiano” served on flat bread with mustard vinaigrette, “Marinheira” style line- caught hake with mussels, Thin apple tart made with the finest pastry, Artisan stone-ground flour bread, Carolina Douro DOC 2013 white wine, Graham’s Extra Dry, Mineral water, Espresso coffee

DINNER AT O GAVETO RESTAURANT
Oysters au naturel, Shrimp, “Percebes” (Goose Neck Barnacles), Clams
– Wine: Alvarinho Contacto 2013 Magnum
Lobster Rice (house specialty)
– Wine:  Alvarinho Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas 2013
Selection of natural fruits, Sweet Egg Rolls
– Port Wine:  Graham´s 20 Year Old Tawny
Bread, toast, water and beer

COMMENTS

  • Hope that you had a nice return to Harrogate.
    Well you can say everybody that I¹m in love to and that I really admire the energy and curiosity of all of you!
    I look forward to receive you here again and design a new program with you.
    Please send my regards to everybody,
    All the best,
    Mafalda, 25 June
  • “Time to reflect and thank you for a wonderfully wine and culture holiday in lovely northern Portugal.Too many highlights pick out the best, was it the five star accommodation or the excellent wines or the unusual visit to the cork factory,I could go on but the overwhelming hospitality shown to us from all our Winery hosts along with your meticulous planning with be my abiding memory. Travelling with HMWS is something very special,don’t miss the next trip!
    With a thousand thanks,
    Sincerely,” –  Tony and Jackie (26 June)
  • “Our visit to Northern Portugal which ended yesterday was a perfect introduction to both Port  itself,and the increasingly important wines of the Douro and Vinho Verde. The deep knowledge and unbeatable contacts of our guides gave us entry to houses, vineyards and Quintas rarely available to outsiders. The kindness of renowned winemakers who spent hours with us especially Ansemo Mendes but also Dirk Niepoort, and the meals they and their families provided will remain in our memory for ages. The quality of the wines and Port was far greater than expected and revealed my relative ignorance of this area. The weather, the accommodation, the coach/driver were exceptional. Our night visit to the Paleolithic rock art along the Coa river, Quinta do Vesuvio,  Quinto do Bom Retiro and  Quinta do Noval  stand out as premium sites.  The Factory House, with our private tour with Olga Lacerda gave us a snapshot of the life and wealth of the old Port houses over 150 years. A brief note of the birds seen : 60 species, many old friends from UK but highlights would be the many Black Redstarts, Red rumped Swallows, the few Pallid Swifts, which were greatly outnumbered by the European Swifts, a couple of Booted Eagles and the sighting both Grasshopper Warblers and short toed Tree-creepers. Corn & Cirl Buntings love the vineyards. Thank you for the considerable time and effort given by you and the two local contacts which ,together , produced a holiday at, or close to, the best ever!!!”  – Stephen (Cameron), Harrogate, 24 June
  • “Back to earth with a bump after a truly memorable,informative and scintillating tour to this spectacular wine region. As Antonio Amorim ,President of Amorim Cork remarked, ” not even a local in the trade, could have compiled such a high profile and professional wine experience”. Those few of us from The Society who were privileged to take part will have lasting memories of a beautiful wine area and dedicated,friendly and generous people within it. Thank you for all the knowledge and hard work which you put into making this Douro Tour such an outstanding success. Best Regards,” – Douglas& Gloria McFarlane, Harrogate, 24 June

THE GROUP OF TEN:

Dr. Stephen Cameron & Ann Cameron, Dr. Bernard Dias & Ramani Dias, Douglas & Gloria McFarlane, Peter & Carol Murphy, Tony Stanier & Jackie Lyles.

76 new wines were tasted during the tour.

DOURO GROUND AGENT:

DSC_0254 - Version 2MILES AWAY, Mafalda Nicolau de Almeida  /  Email mafalda@milesaway.pt  /  Cell Phone +351 93 874 95 28
Address Av. Dr. Artur Máximo Saraiva de Aguilar n.º 8 2.º Esq. 5150-540 Vila Nova de Foz Côa

http://www.milesaway.pt

 

 

THE FIRST VISIT TO THE DOURO IN 1993

FURTHER READING

“Portugal: whites to excite” feature for July’s Decanter magazine

Guide to Vinho Verde & the Minho

On Twitter:

3 thoughts on “Wine Tour of Northern Portugal – 2015

  1. “You have arranged a superb itinerary for our visit to Porto, the appointments are with great houses and the hotels and dining sites offer great memories, we cannot wait to start the trip.” – Dr. Stephen Cameron, Pick Hill

    Like

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