If you keep a list of ideas for fun activities, we would like to suggest a new entry: visiting a port-wine cellar.
Port wine is made in the Douro region where Summers can be very hot. So, the wine is shipped to Vila Nova de Gaia, a town adjacent to Oporto, to be stored away from the heat. There, the wine is kept in dark, cool cellars until it trades the brashness of youth for the refinement that comes with maturity.
Most port-wine houses offer tours of their cellars. The tour guides teach you to distinguish between tawny, ruby, late-bottled vintage, and vintage port. They also regale you with interesting stories and facts about port-wine production. You’ll learn, for example, that the “share of the angels” is the fraction of the wine stored that is lost to evaporation. At the end of the tour you are invited to a port-wine tasting, so you’ll also get a share of this precious nectar.
Sandman’s and Taylor’s are two of the most popular cellars to visit. Click here and here for information about their tours.
One thought on “In the footsteps of the angels”
My trip to the Douro Valley this summer remains one of my favorite vacations. The memories keep flooding back every time I open a bottle of port — and I liked Port and Tonic so much it was the topic of one of my blog posts a few weeks ago.