If you’re looking for a new wine travel destination, you should consider visiting the Douro Valley in 2017. This is the home of Port wine, meaning that you can find plenty of vineyards, restaurants and attractions to check out. Here is Ideal Wine Company’s guide to visiting Port wine country this year.
Port is a fortified wine, produced exclusively in the Douro Valley region of North-West Portugal. Like Champagne, firms are legally required to use only certain grapes and conform to tight production methods, to call their drinks Port. It is most commonly known as a sweet red wine, but it also comes in drier and white varieties, so no matter your taste preferences, there’s sure to be a Port for you.
The Portuguese have been producing wine since Roman times and the Port wine production method developed gradually over time. The Douro Valley officially became a legally protected wine region in 1756, making it the third oldest such region on earth. With such an extensive wine-making history, the Douro Valley receives heavy volumes of tourists each year and here’s how you can be one of them.
There are several ways to reach the Douro Valley from the UK. You can arrange a flight to the region’s primary city, Porto, which takes around two hours, 20 minutes from London. A London to Porto flight costs as little as £29 with low cost airlines like Ryan Air. You can then catch a two-and-a-half hour train from Porto to Peso da Régua, the region’s heart, allowing you to glimpse the area’s amazing vineyards.
There are a plethora of fabulous hotels across the Douro Valley. Industry portal Decanter suggests that if you want luxury, you should book a room at the Six Senses Douro Valley, a four-and-a-half star renovated 19th Century manor house. You could also book a stay at somewhere like the four-and-a-half star Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House if you want some solitude. This boutique hotel boasts just 11 rooms and provides breath-taking views of some of the region’s finest vineyards.
Speaking of vineyards, there’s plenty to visit in the Douro Valley. Our top pick is Quinta do Bomfim in the Douro Valley town of Alijo. Owned by the Symington family, this estate is famous for producing the iconic Dow’s brand of Port wine. You must make a reservation by phone call or email beforehand and when you get there, you can access a visitor’s centre, where you can arrange visits and tastings. Go to Quinta do Bomfim’s official website to find out ticket prices and access contact details.
There are a range of other vineyards that we suggest you check out, while spending time in the Douro Valley. You should head to Quinta do Panascal in Valença do Douro if you want to learn more about Fonseca Port, as this is one of the brand’s primary properties. It also has a visitor’s centre, where you can arrange tours and tastings. Meanwhile, for something unique visit Quinta de Nápoles, where you can witness first-hand, how the legendary Niepoort family create some of the region’s finest Ports.
You can also sample various Ports, by dining at one of the many fine restaurants dotted across the Douro Valley. We’d suggest that you check out Castas e Pratos, a top notch restaurant based near Peso da Régua’s train station. Boasting a modern menu and a great selection of Ports, you’re sure to have a wonderful time at Castas e Pratos. To check out the local scene, DOC, a cuisine house located near Peso da Régua’s primary river, is also worth a visit, as it regularly attracts many local wine-makers.
With so much to see and do, the Douro Valley will provide you with a fantastic wine holiday in 2017. If you want to prepare for your trip by sampling the region’s signature drink, check out Ideal Wine Company’s Ports list. We can provide you with excellent Port wines, at very reasonable prices!