My Douro Trip, June 2009

Well for the first time I ventured to Portugal without Roy, shh don’t tell him [wink.gif] A small group of us Port friends went and it was a stunning time. There will be a nice full write up with tasting notes in the future, but it will take some time to write up all those tasting notes (over 100) and all the activities that went on. Here are some highlights.

the first “mile high” offline at 38,000 feet.

The first midnight offline

A fun time staying and tasting at Passadouro

Macedos…a producer to watch out for as Paul is doing some great things there for dry wines.

Even though I missed part of the tasting, Quinta d. Vale Dona Maria with Sandra Tavares was quite fun. Then the boat ride on the Douro with Sandra, Cristiano Van Zeller (Quinta Vale D. Maria), and Miguel Roquette (Quinta do Crasto) for over 2 hours was incredible. So was Julian swimming in the Douro.

A fantastic visit to Sandeman’s Quinta do Seixo with George Sandeman then lunch and a tasting of old Sandeman Ports with George Sandeman at Quinta do Porto. Quinta do Porto is so beautiful.

A visit to Kopke’s Quinta S. Luiz and then being able to stay the night there was an awesome experience to see what life is like at a quinta that is “traditional” in the sense it isn’t open for tourists and hasn’t been remodeled for modern conveinces, but experiencing life the way workers would have 50 years ago was a once in a lifetime experience. Carla was a great hostess. Plus thanks to Carla I found a really cool restaurant in Regua down a small side street that is really really good and had the biggest steak I’ve seen, it was more like a side of a cow.

How do you rate a tasting that has 36 bottles sitting on the table when you walk in, PRICELESS!!! A complete vertical of all the Symington Vintage Ports from 1970 and 2007 at the Graham’s Lodge. Plus 19 component samples from the 2007 Vintage Ports that were used to make the final blends…VERY educational! Many thanks to Dominic Symington for this and it was a pleasure to finally meet his wife! and for Gustavo who came in on his day off to help lead the tasting and keep us in line.

The first train pizza and Port offline [thumbs-up.gif]

An amazing visit, tasting, and lunch at Quinta do Crasto with Miguel Roquette. BTW, their 2008 Crasto Douro DOC that will be released later this year is a winner (and only about $14) ! hint hint

A remarkable tasting, dinner, and overnight stay at Quinta do Noval with Christian Seely and Rute M. that included the 1896 Dow’s, 1931 Quinta do Noval, 1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional, 1945 Taylors (sadly a bad bottle), 1948 Fonseca, 1967 Quinta do Noval Nacional, 1927 Taylor (which the cork said 1927 Croft, opps), 1955 Graham’s, and many others. Not to mention the spectacular 2004 Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional Douro dry wine [winner.gif]

It was a great time shared with some great friends. Now does anyone have a spare liver, I need one as mine is saturated.

Andy, How dare you go on a trip like that and don’t take Roy! What were you thinking?

How would you rate the 63 Nacional? I had it a couple months ago with the 63 Taylor and Warre and the Taylor was so much better.

And regarding the extra liver…you don’t want mine.

Glad you had a wonderful trip.



The 63 Nacional was showing it’s full graces, it was totally awesome. The '48 Fonseca was right behind it. Both stunning Ports that are still so young. The two darkest of all were the 1963 Nacional and the 1931 Quinta do Noval. It was amazing how dark the color was on that '31, about the same as the '63. My first time having the '31 and it was a beauty for sure.

I am so jealous.

Nice trip Andy. You drink more Ports in a week or two than I may in my lifetime.

Thanks, It’s a burden someone has to bear [basic-smile.gif]