5 Incredible Wineries in Porto to Discover Now
In the South Bank of the beautiful and unique Douro River, Porto’s sister city of Vila Nova da Gaia is the place where the port wine is matured in centuries-old cellars.
Porto has always been hand in hand with port wine, this famed wine has been aged and stored in vast wine lodges in and around the city since the 1700s, although it is produced inland along the Douro River. So, while raising the glass of your favorite wine to the Ribeira (riverfront) you should certainly feature on your Porto itinerary, the best places to get to know this delicious drink and its rich history that actually lies on the opposite side of the river, which is an essential stop for any wine enthusiast.
Here some of Porto's most celebrated cellars for incredible wine tours and memorable and delicious tasting sessions.
Cockburn’s is the largest wooden Port cellar in the historical area of Gaia. The cellars are composed of rows of barrels of all shapes and sizes. While visiting this incredible cellar you will see a large collection of oak barrels and wooden vats of any Port cellar in Porto and this is where they age all of their Ports and in particular, their very Special Reserve Port.
The fantastic and special Reserve Port is achieved by aging it for longer in their lodge, that's why it has a perfect balance and incredible softness. Trought the visit it will be probably to see some coopers, since they are an essential part of Cockburn’s family, in which, they have their own team of coopers. They are the last Port company which still has its own working cooperage with a full team of seven skilled coopers because their careful work is essential to making Ports of top quality. While the wines gradually evolve to their peak of maturity in oak barrels, be sure to absorb to the max their very unique atmosphere. Moreover, you can have your tasting in the cellar in private.
In 1890, Graham's was one of the first Port companies to invest in its own vineyards in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Nowadays, five Symington cousins share responsibility for every aspect of the company and personally make the Graham’s wines, in which the past and the future are mixed in order to obtain the highest quality. The cellar affords spectacular views of Porto’s historic city center, plus, visitors will experience the best of three centuries of craftsmanship and heritage.
Graham’s is still a working cellar, while touring you will definitely hear the sounds of the Coopers’ hammers or will see the lodgement collecting samples for the tasting room. The building currently houses over 2,000 pipes (oak casks) and 40 tonels and balseiros (large oak vats) of aging Port wine, as well as extensive cellars of Vintage Port, aging in bottle. Furthermore, the granite walls combined with the maritime climate ensure a constant, cool temperature, ideal for the slow aging of Port. The high ceiling is still supported by the original Riga Pine beams and the beautiful nineteenth-century exterior remains intact. Don't forget to experience the Board Room Tasting.
One of the most famed ports is definitely the Ferreira Port, in which, in each glass, you will return to the origins of the Portuguese tradition. While learning the history of Porto Wine and the Douro Valley, you will discover all about the charismatic personality – Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira better knows as "Ferreirinha". Dona Antonia became not only a symbol of entrepreneurship and Douro viticulture but also an example of altruism and generosity towards those most in need. Moreover, the Vintage is the only Porto Wine that may age in the bottle, with a tradition of excellence spanning over 250 years. It is considered to be one of the world’s finest Vintage Porto cellars, with wines dating back to 1815 and its magnificent wine cellar dates back to the age of Dona Antónia Ferreira, who at the time of her death in 1896 left behind a tremendous legacy of Douro vineyards, and its invaluable cellar within that containing thousands of precious bottles from the most celebrated vintages, including those of 1815, 1820, 1834 and 1847. Specimens from these, as well as many other emblematic vintages of the 19th, 20th and even the 21st century, continue to age in a dark and humid wine cellar in Gaia and with limited access.
Taylor’s cellars are a journey to the past and learn about the history of Port wine and its production today, as well, about the house of Taylor’s, it's past, present, and the exceptional Ports. Here you will see the company’s extensive reserves of wood-aged Port as well its Vintage Port cellars. The cellars are long cool, dark warehouses, composed of thick granite walls, and high ceilings that help to keep out the heat and maintain an even temperature throughout the year, in order to ensure that the wines age slowly, gradually acquiring the sublime complex flavors and aromas of maturity.
The wines in the cellars age either in cask or in vat. Casks are seasoned oak barrels usually holding around 630 litres of wine and are used mainly to age Tawny Ports, in particular, the smooth and mellow 10, 20, 30, and 40-Year-Old Tawnies of which Taylor is the leading producer. Cask aging encourages contact between the wine and the wood and intensifies the aging process. The rich and complex aromas of maturity, such as notes of butterscotch, walnut, and fine oak wood, therefore develop more quickly in a cask. Oak vats normally hold at least 20,000 liters of wine. In these impressive vessels, there is less contact between the Port and the wood. This method of aging is therefore used mainly for the fruitier styles of Port where the wood aging is intended to give the wine smoothness and a degree of complexity but allow it to retain its youthful structure and freshness. Wines such as Taylor’s First Estate Reserve or LBV are both aged in vat. The range of wooden vessels lying in the fantastic cellars is maintained by a team of incredible coopers whose job it is to look after and repair the casks and vats and make new ones if necessary. Besides, there is a range of Port tastings for the visitors to enjoy including a choice of many different aged Tawny Ports or one of Taylor’s classic Vintage Ports. Don't forget to choose and enjoy Taylor's Master Class.
Real Companhia Velha
Found on the 10th of September in 1756 by the Royal Charter of D. José I, King of Portugal, Real Companhia Velha preserve and honor the tradition while investing in the future, with a constant modernization and experimentation. It is in these amazing cellars that you will find their young Ports aging for many years, gaining in structure and complexity. In the silence and peaceful atmosphere, the Ports rest in the oak barrels, a product of the hand of skilled coopers that have working with the Company for many generations. The barrels and vats for Port are lost in time since, ten, twenty, thirty years, and so on, the necessary time for each Port to achieve its exact point of maturation.
Because of the proximity of the sea, the cellars benefit from the natural climatic conditions that are essential for the aging process of this sublime nectar, valued for the aged color and velvety texture on the palate. Furthermore, Real Companhia Velha is the oldest and most emblematic wine company in Portugal, having celebrated this year 260 years of existence and uninterrupted activity in the service of Port Wine.
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