21 - 22 March 2017
We arrived to Portugal's version of "Napa Valley" to an actual full-up Bed & Breakfast. Port Wine (a fortified wine, higher alcohol content than regular wine, 17-19% versus 12-14%, more or less) is Portugal's claim to wine fame. The right photo is the view out from our room. It's early spring so the vineyard fields are still in winter-mode.
Our lodging hosts gave us an itinerary to follow the next day for touring the valley. We started with a boat tour on traditional boats, now adapted for sight-seeing. The original boats were used to carry barrels of port wine downriver (about 40-60 miles depending on the winery) to the city of Porto on the coast to the west. Quinta is the Portuguese word for winery.
We hoped for blue skies after the overnight rains, and blue skies came through for the boat ride and into some of the afternoon before rains came back. Notice the terracing for the vineyard fields. These reminded us of the terraces in Vietnam for rice.
We had lunch in the same town of the boat ride docks (Pinhão). We were surprised that potatoes were a staple in just about any entree. We never figured out what the green stuff is - some sort of pureed vegetable, and tasty.
We then toured a large winery (Quinta) called Sandeman. We had a British tour guide dressed in the Sandeman styled cloak and hat. After the tour we had a Port tasting in a large room overlooking the river valley.
We finished at a small Quinta, which featured some great tasting Ports as well.