Douro and Port wine Route

Douro and Port wine Route

Douro Region produces wine for over 2000 years, among which we may highlight the worldwide famous, Port wine.

Its origins date back to the second half of the 17th century, when the Port wine begins to be produced and exported in quantity, especially to England.

However, the high profits earned from the exports to England would generate situations of fraud, abuse and tampering of the quality of the fortified wine. The main producers of Douro wine require, by then, the government intervention and on 10th September 1756, it is finally created the “Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro” (General Company of the Alto Douro  Agriculture of vineyards).

To delineate the physical space of the region, there were raised 201 granite milestones. In the year of 1761, another 134 “pombalinos” milestones have been set, making a total of 335.

At 10th May 1907, under the decree signed by João Franco, the Douro Demarcated Region is once again bounded, extending into the Douro Superior.

The long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of exceptional beauty, which reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.

The Douro Demarcated Region is divided into 3 “zones”:

Baixo-Corgo

This area represents more than half of the region and, in this, the vineyard covers 51% of the area. It comprises the entire right bank of the Rio Douro, from Barqueiros to Rio Corgo (Régua). On the left bank, it extends from the parish of Barrô to Rio Temi-Lobos, in the surroundings of the village of Armamar.

Alto-Corgo

It represents 36% of the demarcated region, extending from the borders of the previous area and follows to the Meridian, which crosses the Cachão da Valeira.

Douro superior

It is the smaller area, with approximately 13%, which begins at the borders of the “Alto-Corgo” extending to the Spanish border.

In this region are produced white wines, red wines and Rosé, DOC – Denominação de Origem Controlada (Controlled Origin Designation), DOP – Denominação de Origem Protegida (Protected Origin Designation) and the world’s most famous fortified wine, the Port wine.

 

The Port wines are divided into 3 categories: White, Ruby and Tawny.

The Port wine is a natural and fortified wine, produced exclusively from grapes of the Douro Demarcated Region, being the regions of Peso da Régua and Pinhão the main production centers.

Although produced with Douro grapes and stored in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia (currently the place with the largest concentration of alcohol per square meter in the world), this drink was known as “Port wine”, from the second half of the 17th century, by being exported from this city to all over the world.

The “discovery” of Port wine is controversial. One of the versions, supported by producers in England, states that the origin dates back to the 17th century, when the British merchants added brandy to the wine from the Douro region to prevent it from souring. However, the process that characterizes the precious nectar was already known, well before the beginning of the trade with the British. Already during the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the wine was stored this way to be preserved as much time as possible when travelling. The fundamental difference lies in the area of production and in the used viniferous varieties, now protected.

What makes the Port wine different from other wines, in addition to the unique climate, is the fact that the fermentation of the wine is not completed, being stopped at an early stage (two or three days after the beginning), by adding a neutral wine spirit (with about 77º of alcohol). Thus, the Port wine is a naturally sweet wine, once the natural sweetness of the grapes does not convert completely into alcohol, and it is stronger than the other wines (between 19º and 22° of alcohol).

 

GASTRONOMY

Many are the typical dishes of this region, but the most notable and common in several areas of the Douro region are: the roasted lamb, the roasted codfish, the rice with beans and “Pataniscas de Bacalhau” (cod fried tidbits) and the cabbage soup with red beans.

If you experience a roasted lamb served with rice cooked in the oven (prepared in the traditional wood-burning oven), you will want to repeat, repeat,… it is sublime.

For dessert, the elected will be the traditional milk custard, burnt with sugar and served with a good Port wine … it is superb.

Following this introduction, it is very difficult to select the best route for the Douro wines and the Port wine, once we would need not one day but a month, to enjoy, discover and taste all that this region may offer.

From the table wines, the Port wines, to the gastronomy, its people, its traditions, its landscapes…

“The sublimed Douro. The prodigy of a landscape that ceases to be by the strength of admeasuring. It is not an overview the eyes contemplate: it is an excess of nature.” – from Miguel Torga.

… all this fills us our soul.

 

Places to visit

Miradouro S. Leonardo da Galafura (Viewpoint)

São Leonardo de Galafura is one of the most enigmatic viewpoints of the Douro region, at 620 mts in altitude. From here we may admire the Douro Valley in its entire splendor. The local beauty has thrilled people and has inspired the writer and poet Miguel Torga (Born just a few miles from Galafura, in the village of São Martinho de Anta, and was assiduous beholder of Douro waters that run slowly. On 8th April 1977, Torga, inspired by the Douro, makes it one of the most beautiful tributes… a poem that is now immortalized on the facade of the chapel erected there at the top.)

In this space, we find a leisure park, where you may enjoy peace and quiet, a chapel and a geodesic landmark.

Wine Producer (Bulas Wine)

In Quinta da Encosta de Baixo is located one of the producers of Douro and Port wines who overcomes all the expectations of our trip.

After downhill, curves and counter curves, alongside the Rio Douro and the Rio Ceira, we may be immersed by the landscape we face from this farm.

From the still wines (DOC) – white wines, red wines and rosé – to Port wines (Fine White, Ruby, LVB, Vintage), Tawny (reserve, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years and Old Years Tawny)… all of them fills us our soul, since they are distinguished.

Peso da Régua

The origin of the foundation of Régua dates back to Roman times. Here, the Romans will have installed a presidium, making, as a result, the territory communicable to other lands.

Peso da Régua is a city that belongs to the district of Vila Real, Northern Region of the Douro sub region and the former province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro.

The history of the territory and its people is marked by the creation of the Companhia Geral das Vinhas do Alto Douro (General Company of the Alto Douro vineyards) established by the Marquis of Pombal, in 1756, along with other influential personalities.

Peso da Régua region was elevated to municipality, in 1836, and elevated to the status of city on 14th August 1985. In 1988 it was recognized by the Office Internacional de la Vigne et du Vin as International Town of vine and wine.

www.cm-pesoregua.pt/

Pinhão

Pinhão is a Portuguese parish in the municipality of Alijó. This village enjoys a prime location on the right bank of the Rio Douro. Pinhão is the center of the Port wine Demarcated Region and the place where are located the most famous “Quintas” producers of the fortified wine.

The Pinhão landscape is classified by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage.

The Pinhão railway station is known for its 24 tile panels, which depict landscapes of Douro and aspects of the wine harvest. In blue colours, the tiles are from the author J. Oliveira and were ordered to Aleluia Factory, from Aveiro, in 1937.

It was the first parish of the District of Vila Real to have phone, permanent mail, piped water and a Community Meeting House.

Provesende

Located in the Alto Douro wine region, the village of Provesende, in Sabrosa, is a “corner” not to be missed. Its location in upland, on the north bank of the Rio Douro, offers an unique view on the world’s oldest wine-making region, World Heritage from Unesco. The many vineyards that surround it, the main square of the village and its magnificent buildings, provide a time travel, with much to discover. Come and discover this “Douro Pearl”!

Provesende is a well-preserved village that promises to enchant with its unique and singular heritage. By an extended walk through the streets of the village, we may notice the ancestral granite houses and the various noble houses that attest to the power and wealth of the region. The place preserves a beautiful “Pelourinho” (Pillory) and at the Centre of the village, next to the Church, from the 18th century, there is a granite Fountain, dating from 1755. Next to this Fountain, please take a minute to visit a typical bakery, whose configuration remains identical to the date of its opening: 1940. Classified as “Douro Wine Village”, it will be placed in Provesende, in the future, the Museum of Phylloxera, as it was in this village that began the fight of this plague in the 19th century. The vines disease destroyed, at that time, the production of the Port wine in Douro. It is worth to know this space, which is a part of the territory history.

 

PRICE LIST (1 day)
Price 1 px – 190, 00 euros
Price 2 px – 340,00 euros
Price 3 px – 465,00 euros
Price 4 px – 580,00 euros
Price for groups – under consultation

Timetable
07:30 – Departure from Porto
09:30 – Arrival at Provesende

11:00 – Arrival at Pinhão

13:30 – Lunch

15:00 – Visit to the Wine Production Farm
17:30 – Visit to the city of Régua

(boat trip 50mts – whenever it is possible)
19:30 – Snack

22:00 – Arrival at Porto

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