Leixoes (Porto), Portugal

2019 HAL World Cruise

Monday, April 22, 2019

 

During Roman times, there were two settlements on opposite banks of the Douro River:  Portus and Cale.  Over time, they became Portucale.  When Henry of Burgundy married Teresa of Castilia, her dowry included the Portucal territory.  Their son, Alsphonso, after winning the land back from the conquering Moors and becoming the first ruler of the new kingdom, renamed the country Portugal after the land of his parents.

Today, there are still 2 distinct areas along the Rio Douro:  Porto (whose riverbank, Ribeira, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996) and Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite bank (where port wine is produced.)

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The morning we docked in Leixoes, Portugal, the weather was cool and overcast. But the forecast promised warmer temperatures and perhaps a bit of sun.
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As we exited the ship, we marveled at the architecture of the passenger terminal. It is one of the finest examples of 1960’s public architecture in Portugal and has been proposed for inclusion in the Architectural and Historical Heritage of the city.
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This is an iconic sculpture in Porto of “The Fishing Net” used by the locals in plying their trade. This giant piece sits in a roundabout.
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This is a view of Porto. The colorful Ribeira (riverbank) is filled with cafes. The old city wall is visible under the bridge.
More of the city wall is visible here.
More of the city wall is visible here.
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The bridge is the Ponte Luis I, built by Theophile Seyring in 1888 to replace the old Suspension Bridge connecting Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. Seyring, a colleague of Gustave Eiffel, had collaborated on the construction of the railway bridge, Maria Pia.
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We stopped at the hilltop Monastery of Serra do Pilar to enjoy a birds-eye view of Vila Nova de Gaia.
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And this is the riverfront in Gaia lined with lots of “rebelos,” those Portuguese river craft used to transport the port wine from the vineyards to the “caves” where it was stored and, later, marketed.
This is a close-up of a Rebelo Boat.
This is a close-up of a Rebelo Boat.

 

This is our first visit to Porto, and we chose to dedicate the limited time we had to tasting the port and learning its history.  We enjoyed a windshield tour of Porto and then visited the “Lodges” of 5 Port producers in Vila Nova de Gaia.    Our 1st stop was Real Campanhia Velha, established in 1756 and the producer of Carvelhas and Royal Oporto wines.  We paid 15 Euro/pp to taste 4 different wines, but they threw in 2 more at the end—one of those from a 1977 vintage ruby selling for 100 Euro/bottle!!!!

Our first tasting is at Real Companhia Velha, established in 1756.
Our first tasting is at Real Companhia Velha, established in 1756.
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Real Campanhia Velha is the home of Carvelhas ports. We paid 15 Euro/pp for the tasting, and sampled 4 different ports (with 2 more thrown in at the end!) We bought 3 bottles before we left.

 

Next, we stopped at Calem, one of the most visited cellars in Porto.

Our 2nd tasting is at the Calem lodge.
Our 2nd tasting is at the Calem lodge.
We paid 12 Euro/pp and sampled 3 wines at Calem.
We paid 12 Euro/pp and sampled 3 wines at Calem.
All the wines we sampled at Calem were quite good.
All the wines we sampled at Calem were quite good.
But we did not purchase any wines from this lodge.
But we did not purchase any wines from this lodge.

 

Then Sandeman’s, known for their distinctive phantom logo.

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Our 3rd stop is at the Sandeman lodge. The tasting fee is 10 Euro/pp for either 3 ruby or 3 tawny. So we bought 2 different packages per couple and managed to sample them all!!!
We sampled 3 ruby ports.....
We sampled 3 ruby ports…..
.....and 3 tawny ports.
…..and 3 tawny ports.
Our happy group at Sandemans's Lodge.
Our happy group at Sandemans’s Lodge.
We bought the Phantom decanter of port at Sandeman!
We bought the Phantom decanter of port at Sandeman!

 

Ferreira is our favorite port.

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I may have mentioned, our favorite port wine is Ferreira!   This is the oldest, continuously-operating, family winery. They’ve been producing superior ports since 1751.
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We did not “taste” at this lodge. Our time on a single day port-of-call is limited, so knowing that we love this port–
.....we simply ran in and purchased a couple of bottles!!!!
…..we simply ran in and purchased a couple of bottles!!!!

 

Graham’s was our final tasting.

Our final tasting at Graham's  cost 15 Euro/pp.
Our final tasting at Graham’s cost 15 Euro/pp.
We tasted 3 different ports.
We tasted 3 different ports.
And, of course, they are all very good!!!!
And, of course, they are all very good!!!!
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We took the tasting seriously. We compared, rated and scored the different wines sampled. None rated less than a 96. Most were in the 97/98 range. We tasted one at RCV that scored 99! But it was a 40 yr old tawny for 100 Euro/bottle!! We didn’t buy!

 

Now, we are on our way to Cherbourg, France where we expect to find our favorite cheese:  Brillat-Savarin!

One thought on “Leixoes (Porto), Portugal”

  1. Hi… Greetings from Porto. You managed to visit in one day more port cellars than I ever did, and I live here. When I have people visiting I only go to Ferreira. I hope you did not go directly to the sampling room but had the time for the full cellar tour and learn more about the port production. The tour at Ferreira is the best in my opinion. One final note: the cruise terminal that you photographed is not from the 60s… It was built 3 years ago and it is indeed an architectural gem. In addition to the terminal functions, the building also houses the marine science labs of the Porto University.

    Like

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