CONTRIBUTED BY NIKKI B.
Just about a two hour drive from Porto, Portugal is the Duoro River valley. When my family and I were visiting Porto, we took a full day tour out to Duoro. We got to sample some amazing food, learn about the famous port wine, see beautiful views of the river valley and learn what it’s like to live on one of the wine estates.
It was very interesting to learn about and experience the different micro-climates in the region. As you travel through the mountains, the weather goes from the foggy area where it rains almost every day to a warmer, dryer climate. It was also interesting to learn that the wine growers are not allowed to water their plants at any time. The plants naturally pull their water supplies from the river or receive enough water from the rain fall. It was also interesting to learn that the olive trees are planted throughout the vineyards to predict any problems that may start to impact the grapes. Finally and I think most exciting of all, we learned that most of the smaller wine producers still use the tried and true technique of smashing the grapes with their feet. The grape harvest happens in September, so if you ever want to join in a grape smashing festival, the Duoro River valley is the place to go.
Here are some of the highlights we experienced while in the Duoro River valley:
We stopped at Doce Neves – Pastelaria e Salão de Chá, a local café to enjoy some fresh, homemade treats and coffees. This is where I learned that a local favorite is shredding cooked egg yolks and putting them over cakes. The cakes look like they are drizzled in cheese or orange frosting, but it is actually egg yolks. We also had a massive family style meal at the Adega Grande Ponto, Pinhão where we were served bread, olives, beef ribs braised in port wine, lamb, rice and mango pudding for dessert.
The Port Wine
We enjoyed a lovely tour of the Sandeman wine center. We were able to see awesome views of the river and the tiered vineyards below. We learned about their history, production and marketing. At the end of the tour we were able to sample their port wine and enjoy some time relaxing on their beautiful patio.
We took an afternoon boat tour of the Duoro river. We again saw the wine estates and vineyards from the river view point. It was a nice, relaxing way to spend the afternoon enjoying the warm weather and great company.
Just like in any other area surrounding Porto, the building and architecture are all covered in blue and white tiles. In particular, the Pinhão Railway station is covered in murals made from tiled art work. The tile work pays homage to the history, culture and landscape of the surrounding area. The train station also has a small gift shop and there are souvenir shops right across the street.
Doce Neves Restaurant
The address to Doce Neves is
Av. da Galiza – Edf. Miradouro
R/C, 5050-222 Peso da Régua.
Additional information can be found on the Doce Neves facebook page.
Sandeman Wine Center
Sandeman Wine Center’s Address:
Information about Sandeman wine center can be found on the Sandeman Wine website.
Other things to do in Portugal: