Porto is perhaps most famous for its delicious Port wine, which can only be made and produced in Porto – last year while visiting Lisbon, we tried the famous port for the first time, and absolutely loved it.
Although we’re not heavy drinkers at all, we could tell that the Port wine tasted different from any other wine.
So when visiting Porto, we went to three of the best and oldest wineries to understand more about this sweet wine, and of course to taste some wine…
Taylor’s is a family run business, and it’s one of the oldest wine companies in Porto – founded in 1692, the company has a fascinating history, and Ana-Sofia passionately told us about all the important people and moments that has made Taylor’s what it is today.
For Taylor’s, the three most important keywords are tradition, quality and innovation.
Tradition because they are a family business, not just the high up people, but a lot of their staff works there for their entire lives and their sons and daughters too.
Quality because they are very picky and careful with the wine they produce, and still choose to make wine the traditional way with men and women treading the grapes.
The traditional treading is a crazy and difficult part of Port wine making (they stamp the grapes for two hours in a quiet, steady rhythm, and then spend two hours dancing around and singing to traditional music – all of this after 8 hours work in the field!).
Finally, innovation because they’ve been the creators of many of the latest port wines, such as the Chip Dry and LBV, which has gone from being a total “disgrace” to the most popular wines of all.
The views over Porto and Gaia from Taylor’s terrace are simply amazing, and is worth a visit alone.
“We might not be as fancy as other places, but we want to show our visitors the real thing – this is not a museum, it’s where we work”.
When asking the staff at Graham’s how they would describe their company in a sentence, Tomas, our guide, said “Looking to the future and improving techniques while still maintaining the tradition”.
The tour was very well laid out for visitors, with an introduction video, a walk through the storage cellars where they store the wine and let it age, and finally the tasting at the end. We loved the bar’s light which made it easy to see the difference in color between the wines – this place had really taken attention to details.
They’re currently in the middle of a huge renovation, where they will add a couple of things to give visitors an even better experience.
In the beginning of next year, there will be a museum, and a restaurant where you can sample some food together with the recommended port wines.
We had a great time with Tomas, who had an answer to every one of our questions, and while tasting the different wines we realized just how different they all are.
Croft, which is owned by the same company as Taylor’s, has a more fun atmosphere and style to it rather than traditional – we went there for the sole purpose of trying some of the newer styles of wine, like the Pink port wine, which is perfect for refreshing cocktails and mixes.
We had no idea just how many types of Port wines there were.
We started the day thinking that there was only one Port wine and it was a red one, to having tasted 10 different types of Port, that were all unique from each other.
We didn’t realize just how many glasses we would be tasting, and after going to all three of them in the same day – we were pretty tipsy when we finally checked into our hotel.
Another thing we didn’t know was that Port wine is much stronger than other wines, with at least 20% alcohol – so if you’ve planned to take a wine tasting tour, sip your wine slowly..!
Tip: If you’re not much of a wine drinker, there are lots of cocktails that can be made with Port wine, try Port Tonic for example.
The great thing about Porto is that many budget airlines fly there so going for a weekend getaway is cheap and easy - compare flights on flights24, and if you’re really a wine fanatic, book a few nights at the wine-themed Yeatman hotel.