I’d read good things about the Douro valley. And I didn’t want to keep this trip to Douro for later. Even though we could’ve done with a second full day in Porto, we decided to go to Douro.
Starting early morning, taking the 7 AM train to Douro, we arrived here around 9:45 AM. We walked straigh to Quinta das Carvalhas.
Álvaro was our very friendly and passionate host for that day. Born and brought up in Porto and an agriculturist, he was the perfect person to show us around.
We went up the hills in his car and stopped and various points to learn about the different things.
Such a fun tour. Lots of lessons learnt. Like the olive trees live for four centuries and more. And that you have ‘cork’ trees for creating corks – the actual name is quercus suber. That the virgin cork is to be cut off about 25 year old trees. The second harvest can be 9 – 12 years later.
Álvaro mentioned that they have a total area of about 500 hectares out of which 120 hectares are for vineyards, 40 of which are old. And old is gold. Some of them, over 90 years old.
The 120 hectares have about 25 different vineyards, that produce 65% port wine and the remaining, reds and whites.
We looked at some ‘then’ photos, and the ‘now’ was in front of us. We learnt some about the xisto rocks, observing them closely. Not knowing how relatively delicate they are.
Álvaro mentioned they try to be organic and ecological no plastic, no wastes and such, which I thought was a good way of giving back to nature 🙂
We learnt that those mountains are one of the more difficult regions for wines, that the altitude, the direction brought out different characters in the wines and that blending different grapes grown distinctly is not the same as growing different varieties of grapes, together.
The views from up there were gorgeous, and I can only imagine how much prettier it would’ve been with some sun. It was cloudy and cold that day there.
The tour culminated with a tasting of a red wine, a white wine and a tawny port in their little shop.
The place is walkable from the Pinhão train station. We were planning on taking the 2ish PM train back to Porto, but realized we might be able to make the 12:30 ish train back.
But were hungry. Especially baby K. So we paced back fast. With the husband carrying him and I “running” after grabbing a couple of doughnuts to the store owner giving me the change hurriedly after asking that I was planning to get on that train that just arrived, across the street to running harder and crossing the tracks to the get to the train and a random stranger giving me a hand so that I could climb up the platform with a diaper bag, a camera bag and a baby carrier in hand.
Coming back to the vineyards, and a tour, come to Douro valley, come to Pinhão, come here. Enjoy the photos from that day.
There wasn’t anybody else that day, so it was a personalized tour for us. All I could picture was a nice documentary being shot there 🙂