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Tag Archives: Douro

An incredible Porto dining experience at DOP by Rui Paula

If you are visiting Porto, make sure to plan an evening of dining pleasure at Rui Paula’s DOP restaurant for stunning food and wine and the modern face of Portuguese gastronomic culture. Rui Paula is a name that any visitor to the Douro should be familiar with. Self-taught Chef Rui Paula is the name behind DOC, the very successful gastronomic destination housed on a pier (unfortunately for the pun, not a dock) sitting on the Douro River itself on the main road between Régua and Pinhao. DOC is a must-visit destination offering fantastic views, food, service and wines. DOC established Rui Paula’s reputation not only for quality, but also as an inventive chef whose creations are beautiful without being outlandish, […]

A Tale of Two Portuguese Regions: Douro & Serra da Estrela Are Calling Part II

Editor’s Note: In Part I, Sonia visited some of the Douro’s enchanting wine-producing villages, took in prehistoric art at the Coa Museum with wine glass in hand, savored the rustic flavors of the Beira Interior at O Lagar, and was nearly run over by a pickup truck packed with shouting, shirtless men in the historic village of Castelo Rodrigo. Her Douro e Estrela – In Tourism journey continues … and ends with a Portonic. The itinerary our group had been handed couldn’t have seemed more deceiving at that very moment. In its description of Castelo Rodrigo, it noted the ancient village’s tranquil streets. Perhaps on most days—but certainly not when we visited. The silence was disrupted by a band of shouting, shirtless men packed […]

Quinta do Vallado: Revisiting an Old Friend in the Douro Valley

Many moons ago, Ryan and I took our first trip to Portugal. The year was 2003, and our objective was to celebrate our marriage among the vines, the winding city streets and with any luck, to create a memory that would become the foundation of our relationship. Three weeks of exploration, and diving into the unknown with only 2 backpacks and no cellphone, led to an incredible adventure. The trip took us as far as south as the Alentejo, as far north as the Minho; and although there were several places that left a lifelong impression on me, it was the Douro that held center stage on this trip. For those of you who haven’t visited Portugal, it’s important to note […]

A Tale of Two Portuguese Regions: Douro and Serra da Estrela Are Calling

Editor’s Note: Invited by the Douro e Estrela – In Tourism  project, our Catavino contributor Sonia Nolasco spent five days in June traveling through the Douro Valley and the Serra da Estrela region’s Beira Interior. Sonia gorged at countless gastronomical feasts, imbibed great quantities of wine, and checked out hunky, shirtless Portuguese men on her trip—all for the sake of bringing you this two-part report. Enjoy! Imagine traveling about an hour through pitch black darkness, going to sleep not quite sure where you are at the moment—only to find yourself a few hours later waking up to the beauty in the picture above. That’s not likely how I would’ve planned it, but in the end that’s part of what made the […]

O-Port-Unidade: A Fantastic Collaborative Project for Charity

Ever try and get a small group of friends together for a photo? A bit like herding cats, no? Now imagine getting 16 of the top Port producers together for a photo?! O-Port-Unidade is a small project started by our friend and one time contributor on Catavino, Axel Probst of WorldofPort.de. Not only was this a convenient way to get a photo of the port wine trade’s most important individuals, but it has turned into a great way of  giving back to the community. The O-Port-Unidade project will happen on September 22nd, 2013, when sixteen port producers gather at Vale Mendiz to stomp, crush and presumably dance their way around lagars filled with grapes from each wineries vineyards. VIP’s from each Port House will […]

Celebrating the 2011 Vintage: A Rare Port Wine of Exceptional Quality

At 9am on a cool Friday morning in Foz, with a stunning view of the Atlantic ocean, I joined a room full of international Port wine experts to taste 56+ 2011 Vintage Port wines.  These wines, in their youth, have an uncanny ability to strip enamel and burn tastebuds. And while you suffer the strength of these monsters, you are participating in an exercise of divination with only a cloudy, purple, crystal ball to guide you. It demands the taster make grand pronouncements as to the future of a beverage wound tight in tannins, acidity and fruit. Will it age into an elegant treasure to share with future generation? Not the easiest judgement to make, but one worth the adventure no matter the dental […]

Portuguese Wine Invasion – Midwest Tour

For years, we’ve spoken of our adoration of Portugal; but since our move, we’ve been shocked by the number of people who are unaware of its existence. This becomes even more profound when we head back to the States and realize that very few of my wine geek friends are familiar with Portuguese wine beyond Port. Hear this enough and your heart gets heavy. Understandably, you want people to know about Portugal. You want people to have the same joy and elation you have. We quickly realized that although we couldn’t buy every one of our close friends a ticket to Portugal, we could potentially, bring Portugal to them. With this in mind, we noticed that there were a few […]

Schist: A Cultural Staple in the Douro Valley and Beyond

Editor’s Note: Fiona Lynch and her husband Jonathan, two passionate geologists, moved from Scotland to the Lima Valley in the Minho region in Portugal. We’re very appreciative of their willingness to share their experience, and hope this will be one of many we can expect from them in the future. Like most of northern Portugal, the geology of the Minho region is dominated by granite rocks. Rolling hills with massive round boulders cluster around peaks or are strewn about slopes and sandy river banks in the valleys. Every now and again, on my hikes through the forests or along the country lanes, I come across a ragged twist of dark orange schist called xisto. This thinly layered rock, ranging in […]

Value wine: I do not think it means what you think it means.

I was at a tasting a few days ago in Porto where the presenter pointed out at the beginning of their talk that they wanted to focus on “value wines”. However, he then continued by saying that, with regret, while that was the goal, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He felt that he needed to show some wines at higher price points instead to show what Portuguese wines were really capable of. When I heard this I was a bit shocked. It reminded me of a scene from what is possibly one of the greatest films ever made, The Princess Bride. Throughout a series of challenges, the ‘mastermind’ Vizzini keeps repeating the word “Inconceivable” until eventually, the […]

Taberna do Sao Pedro: A Mouthwatering Fire Hazard in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

When travelling to new lands, there is always something enticing about “discovering” a place you think no one else knows about. As if you’re a rugged explorer who has stumbled upon that one diamond, that one unique place that is privy to you alone. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling, in large part due to your incredibly effective brainwashing techniques; because let’s be honest, that one “hidden” spot in the era of social media, is most likely known to the entire planet. But hey, let’s live the dream, shall we? We found Taberna do Sao Pedro on a gorgeous afternoon after taking a long, meandering walk through Porto. Our goal was to find the one bus that would take […]