Going wine tasting in the Douro Valley, one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world
As I turned around I had the whole expanse of the Douro Valley before me, the cobalt-blue river snaking its way through the steep mossy-green hills for as far as the eye could see.
Just to the left of me was an infinity pool, the bright blue water as inviting as the numerous wines that lay on the table in front of me.
As we were just moving from the reds into the ports, the syrupy sweet dessert wine and what this region is famous for, the wine won out.
After all, there’s not many places in the world where you can learn all about wine and port in a setting such as stunning as this.
Earlier that day, as the inky morning sky was just starting to brighten up, I found myself outside the São Bento train station.
Dating back to 1864, the São Bento train station is a pretty impressive building in itself. Even though the outside is unremarkable, as soon as you step inside there are the most amazing tile facades depicting Portugal’s history, one of which is of Portugal’s famous wine region, the Douro Valley, the place where Brianna and I were going on our day trip.
The Douro Valley is actually the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and people have been producing wine here for the last 2,000 years. This makes it a must-see on any trip to Porto and the one thing I was most looking forward to doing on our weekend away!
To get to the Douro Valley the train took us through the most beautiful scenery for an hour before we jumped off at Ferrão, a deserted station in the middle of nowhere.
It was there that we met Jorge, our taxi driver for the day who was going to take us onto the Douro Valley to show us one of his favourite vineyards in the area – Quinta do Crasto.
Even though you can get a taxi or bus from Porto to the Douro Valley, the train follows the Douro River through the countryside and past these cute little towns, and it really is an incredibly picturesque train ride.
The drive from Ferrão to the Douro Valley was equally beautiful.
As we made our way higher and higher up into the mountains we eventually broke through the clouds until we were directly above them, the valley bathed in white as the clouds clung to the hills.
On the way to Quinta do Crasto, one of the most famous vineyards in the region, Jorge took us to D’Origem, a tiny vineyard run by Paulo and Sandra that produced a delicious red wine, golden peppery olive oil and almonds to boot. It was amazing seeing this family who had been producing wine for generations and they still had so much passion for it.
From D’Origem we went onto Quinta do Crasto in the heart of the Douro Valley.
Quinta do Crasto have been producing wine ever since 1615 and they have won numerous prestigious awards around the world, so you know they produce the good stuff.
With an infinity pool and an old chapel overlooking the Douro Valley, Quinta do Crasto is absolutely stunning and I could’ve wandered around here for hours taking in all the different views. But we were here for one thing and one thing only – the wine.
With Manuel, the master of wine at Quinta do Crasto, our tasting session was right next door to the infinity pool with the Douro Valley in the background. I don’t know if it made the wines taste better but it certainly felt like it!
Manuel talked us through all the different flavours of each wine and I immediately feel in love with the Quinta do Crasto Tinta Roriz, a bold red that tasted of cherries and plums and notes of oak.
Still, we were in Porto so it’d be rude of me not to talk about the port.
Much like with champagne only coming from the Champagne region in France, port is only considered to be port if it’s produced in the Douro Valley.
Now as my parents will attest to, I drink port wine like I drink my red wine, and it was great to experience one of my favourite drinks in the birthplace of it. It really lived up to all my expectations!
After we got through our sixth bottle of wine (you can probably tell I lost count), the sun was starting to set.
As we were talking to Andreia, one of the workers at Quinta do Crasto, she said the best place to watch the sun set was high up in the hills with the view of the Douro Valley all around, so we hopped into the back of one of the tractors and made it up to where the vines were growing.
I don’t know if it was all the wine I’d drunk throughout the day or whether it was from the golden sunset before our eyes, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful setting to go wine tasting than the Douro Valley.
Our trip to Porto was part of a campaign with Monarch who have just launched a new route from London to Porto. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own and without bias.
Is the Douro Valley somewhere you’d like to go? Where if the best place you’ve ever been wine tasting? I’d love to hear what you think so let me know in the comment box below!
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