Fed up with the usual holiday destinations? Bored of the same old, same old? Have you heard of the remarkable Douro Valley in Portugal? This place will blow your mind.
The Douro Valley is 90 minutes east of Porto in north Portugal, the steep sided home of the Douro river. Voted one of 2016’s best places to visit, it is seriously beautiful, stunningly lovely, tailor made for holidays to remember. But best of all, it’s perfect for people with a taste for world class wines. If that’s you, read on to discover what’s in store in the Douro Valley.
How the Douro wine scene began
Wine-making started here centuries ago and in 1756, it became the world’s first official wine producing region. Better transport links in the 1960s brought tourists and wine aficionados from far and wide, and the rest is history. Now wine lovers of every flavour flock there.
Where to start your wine-flavoured visit to the Douro Valley
Wine and Soul is known for quality rather than quantity, beautifully simple flavours and fairly priced. Visit the Vinho Verde region for delicious Avesso Nature and Branca wines from Quinta de Covela. Test a variety of great wines at A&D Wines in the Vinho Verde area, known for their light and approachable flavours.
Founded way back in 1588, Quinta da Roeda is the oldest working wine firm in the country, famed for its vintage Ports, wood aged reserves, and gorgeous tawnies. For wines as amazing as the views, go to Quinta do Crasto.
Buy wines in the shops from Luis Seabra’s place, where wine for the popular Xisto Illimatado and Niepoort brands is made using native yeasts. They’re packed with flavour with a high acid content that’s rare in these parts. Try Quinta do Tedo, established by Vincent Bouchard of the famous Bouchard et Fils family and dating back 250 years, where wonderfully quirky red blends and rose wines are the name of the game. And discover the cellar at Vertice for masterpieces by the winemaker Pedro Guedes, known and loved for exceptional sparkling wines.
These, of course, are the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more vineyards and wineries to visit and the region’s wines are the pride of local restaurants and cafes as well as sold far and wide, loved around the globe.
What is the Douro Valley’s best wine?
It’s a matter of taste. They’re so varied, all created so passionately, each with its own unique scent, flavour and colour. Only one thing’s certain… you’re going to love the process of finding out.
If a wine tour in the Douro makes your mouth water, we have some fabulous ideas for you. Go explore!