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Porto - recommendations for Wine, Port and general bacchanalia?

portugal

#1

Ok, so I’m maybe not planning a full-on Roman style orgy of food and wine (etc.!) but I am planning a trip to Porto in October.

So many places to choose from for wine & food. I’m particularly interested if anyone on here has had great experiences of and can recommend:

  • Douro valley vineyards to visit, preferably easily accessible from Porto town

  • Port houses in the town … tour and eat perhaps?

  • coastal places to spend a few days within say an hour or two of Porto?

Thanks in advance of your suggestions!

D


#2

Hiya Derek!

I’m very jealous - Porto has been on my wish list for a while, so I’ll be monitoring the replies here with interest. :smiley:

So while I can’t sadly give any recommendations based on personal experience, last year we did a Travels in Wine to Porto and our buyer Jo Locke MW (who’s been visiting the region for many years) had a few recommendations:

Hope some of these might prove helpful - but I’m sure you’ll get lots more recommendations here. :slight_smile:


#3

@derekgs I reckon you could easily have a fortnight of complete food and wine indulgence in excellent restaurants without any hard work at all - it’s a city full of delicious places to eat and drink.
The meal we enjoyed the most was at Cantina 32, Rua das Flores, 32, Porto. A superb Octopus starter was very memorable, BUT as with lots of good places, I would book ahead if you want to be sure of a table. It has an odd, slightly industrial decor theme inside, but the food & service were great.

There are also lots of amazingly well stocked wine shops - one we frequented was Garrafeira Nacional Conceição on rua de conceição - excellent and amazing selection of almost entirely Portuguese wines.

There is an open air bar at the top of the Porto Cruz’s 360º Terrace Lounge in Gaia that has superb views across the river to the old town, serving cocktails and chilled white port. Music may be a tad loud and not to everyone’s taste though… You can’t miss the location - the cable car dips by just a dozen feet above.

If you want to go to Graham’s or another of the larger port producer’s cellars for a tour, book ahead. We had a great time at the much smaller, but very helpful Churchills, where we dropped in on the last tour of the day. We were enthusiastically and knowledgeably guided through their tawny wines including a small glass of their 30 year old, which wasn’t on the menu, but which was brought out as we had shown such interest. A fantastic end to the day.

Finally, a trip on the rickety tram to Foz is well worth it - it was blowing an absolute gale when we went but also incredibly warm and sunny. The beaches are mostly rocky, but the walk along the edge of the Atlantic ocean was a refreshing change from the city.


#4

Yes, Yes! I know Porto (a bit) and can HIGHLY recommend it. Unfortunately my memory is shit so I will have to do some research … (one of the places I can always remember is O Paparico)

but in the interim, I can HIGHLY recommend that if you are looking for some expert assistance and visit planning, particularly helping to put you in touch with tour guides that do something out of the ordinary such as food & wine tours, that you consider getting in touch with my very good friends at Catavino

I know they’ve had loads of great feedback on this walking tour for example:


#5

I went a few years ago but remember the food at the Yeatman on the VNdG side being really good and it has a terrace with great views over Porto. Also second the tram recommendation. And wear comfortable shoes, everything is up a hill!


#6

Coincidentally, we just got back from Porto yesterday. Beautiful city and very different from when I visited in the '80s and early '90s. On this occasion, we visited Graham’s, which I would thoroughly recommend. We only did the tasting (great choices), which didn’t need to be booked in advance and which took place in a stunningly atmospheric and beautiful tasting room. Great choice of ports, our favourite of which was the 40 year old Tawny, even better than the 1985 Vintage and 1994(?) Colheita.

There’s a very nice and not too expensive restaurant there, as well as great wine bar with superb views over the city. We also visited Taylor’s but overall, I preferred Graham’s for both the ports and the setting. Whichever you choose, you will have a great time.


#7

It’s quite a few years since I was in Oporto and many companies have changed hands since then. However, there are relevant offices aside from the producers that may be of interest.
I visited the Junta Nacional do Vinho and bought an excellent book (in English) abour Portuguese wines. If they are still there then they may be able to help with information. Also I was told about the Factory House which I didn’t get to. I believe it was/is the house for the producers’ association and apparently well worth visiting if this is possible.


#8
  • Nothing in the Douro valley is exactly easily accessible from Porto. I would say you would need to spend at least one night out there to make it worthwhile. But it is absolutely worth doing. It is the most impressive vineyard landscape I have ever encountered. The sheer scale is amazing, and it is very atmospheric, almost scary at times.

  • Graham’s gave us a great tour of their lodge. There were 6 or so of us, and it was sort of tailored to our needs at the last minute, which I thought was impressive. They knew we had just spent the last 10 days in Porto and the Douro, and so skipped a lot of the spiel on the tour and just let us ask questions, and they knocked together an interesting tasting based on leftovers from earlier tastings given to buyers and press. You might not get or want that, but I have also heard many other positive things about Graham’s as a place to visit. The only downside is that it is a bit of a schlep from the more central bits of Gaia. (We also visited Taylor’s and Sandeman’s in the normal tourist way, but Graham’s was the best experience.)


#9

Thanks to all for the Porto recommendations. We had a fabulous few days, rounded off with fine dining at Graham’s.

Looking forward to next trip to make use f other recommendations.

Thanks!