When you are in Porto, you have to experience the namesake of Port; even if you don’t like wine. The city is surrounded by port culture, from wine barrels in most bars or restaurants or having cork on display as a keepsake. Port is a key part to exploring and experiencing the lovely city of Porto.
The port houses are located in one central point, perfect for an afternoon of tasting and tours. Simply cross the Ponte Luis I bridge, across the River Douro, and there are the different port houses scattered along the river. To get down to the river’s edge, hop on the cable car for €5 for amazing views of the city as you go.
One fun fact that I thought was interesting, was that the reason the port houses are in this location, is that the river was used to transport the grapes down from the Douro Valley.
There are mega big port establishments, like Taylors or Sandeman, which offers tours and tastings…but for our port experience we opted for a smaller family owned port cellar: Quinta dos Corvos.
The tour was intimate, just the four of us, and we were able to snap photos and ask questions as our tour guide Maria lead us through the port making process. We spotted the aged barrels, which of course reminded me of our distillery experience in Scotland. (Sidenote: Why do our trips always lead to sampling booze?)
The cellar itself was cold and dark, had wooden beams and cobbled floors…essentially I was in heaven.
After the short tour, we were lead to the tasting room were we sampled a few varieties of port. We swirled the glasses, gave a sip or two… and enjoying tasting port in its namesake of Porto. Neal surprised me by liking the tastings that he opted to buy 3 bottles to be shipped back to Wales. One is a vintage that we need to wait another 10 years before we open it, I am thinking it is a perfect way to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary.
It goes without saying that I would recommend the small port house we visited, Quinta dos Corvos for a memorable and special port tasting experience. The tour was €5, which was refunded after a purchase, which included the tour plus 4 tastings. Well worth it friends!
Have you visited Porto? Did you get a chance to visit a port house, which one did you sample?