Port Tasting in Porto
One thing you have to do when in Porto is visit one of the port wine houses for a tour and tasting. Finding out more about the production process and trying some port in the area where it’s produced is a uniquely Porto experience that can’t be missed.
Whereabouts in Porto can you do port tasting?
All of the port wine cellars are located in Vila Nova de Gaia on the south side of the River Douro. You can see rooftop signs for the different port houses dotted at various points up the hill from the other side of the river. Many are names of port brands that people will be familiar with, such as Graham’s, Churchill’s, Taylor’s and Sandeman. Most of the port wine houses offer tastings and tours of the cellars.
Vila Nova de Gaia from across the river
Churchill’s port tasting and tour
We opted for Churchill’s simply because we happened to be nearby and when we went in to ask about times, there was a tour taking place soon. However, it was great and I would definitely recommend. The tour was really interesting, the staff were super friendly and the port was delicious!
First of all we were taken round the cellars and told all about how port is made, the history of the company and of port production, and the difference between the types of port. We were then able to try four different port wines (there was an option to pay more and try more types too).
The port cellars
The port cellars are where the port is aged in oak barrels. As we were taken round Churchill’s port cellars, our knowledgeable guide explained the entire production and aging process to us, as well as how different types of port are made. In one room, the walls were lined with bottles of vintage port from particularly good years, which are undergoing further fermentation in the bottle.
Large oak barrels for port aging
After the tour, we took a seat in Churchill’s lovely tasting room, which had open, full-length windows with views of the Duoro River. We sampled ruby port, tawny port and even white port! Our server then asked us what our favourite was and then came back with an even more expensive version of our favourite – a vintage ruby port for me and a 10 year LBV (late bottled vintage) tawny port for my boyfriend. It was great to taste the different wines knowing everything we’d just learnt on the tour.
Sampling white port
From what I’ve heard, all of the port houses in Porto offer a great port tasting experience, so you should definitely try one of them while you’re there. And of course, as the local speciality, a range of ports are available in most of the bars in the city for you to enjoy.
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Rachel is a freelance writer and German translator who has lived in Hamburg and Stuttgart. She loves both travel and writing about it. Her favourite destinations are places that have a mixture beautiful scenery, interesting things to see and do and great food!