Wine Country: Porto, Portugal
The first in a series of articles detailing where to obtain, and drink, the best wine in the world.
Of course you and your girlfriend like to drink. It may have very well have been over a drink that you first talked to each other. Since you’ve dated for a while, you know that she’s probably not going to get excited about a couple pints of Guinness or Mirror Pond Ale and you’re certainly not going to get excited for a Cosmo or an appletini, so why not meet in the middle with a nice bottle of wine? Now that that discussion is out of the way, why not share that love of meeting in the middle at a nice location? Meaning, why not travel to wine country so that you both can get your drunk on while exploring someplace new?
There are many places associated with good wine, but I’d like to start with a favorite of mine – Porto, Portugal. Why Porto? Here’s why.
The Beach. Yes, this location for wine is also right on the ocean. You know what can get you nice and thirsty? Enjoying the sun and playing in the ocean before going to get a nice lunch and bottle of wine. What’s good after a night of drinking? Feeling the cool salty air as you sit under an umbrella and try to figure out if you have another night of drinking in front of you. After a couple of hours, you’ll realize, of course you do.
Golf. What’s the sport that goes best with drinking? Ok, it’s bowling, closely followed by billiards. But, what sport can also use beautiful hilly country like that used for growing grapes? Exactly. There are no hills in softball. It’s golf. There are six golf courses within forty miles of Casa Branca Beach and Golf Hotel. Add to the fact that it’s right on the beach, and your first two needs are already right at your fingertips.
Wine. The part of Porto that you’ll care about the most is Villa Nova de Gaia. Located on the south side of the Douro River (same as the Casa Branca Hotel), it is here that you will find many cellars that have restaurants, tours and the most important thing, samples. There are a number of wineries that are located here including: Sandeman; Fonseca; Ramos Pinto; Taylor’s; Croft; Cockburn’s; and Graham’s. The only problem with visiting all the different cellars is that Villa Nova de Gaia is one big hill. Walking up sober is easy, coming back down, is easy as well if you don’t mind rolling and tumbling. A cab is definitely recommended.
Truthfully, after golfing, lounging about on the beach and then drinking all afternoon, do you need much more? I mean, isn’t the purpose of this trip to spend time with your lady and enjoy some fine wine? Ok. There’s the Serralves Art Museum, there’s a day cruise up the Douro River and a host of good restaurants and coffee shops to catch a bite to eat and a cup of coffee to get yourself ready for more wine. Happy drinking vacation.
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."