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.)
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!!!!
Next, we stopped at Calem, one of the most visited cellars in Porto.
Then Sandeman’s, known for their distinctive phantom logo.
Ferreira is our favorite port.
Graham’s was our final tasting.
Now, we are on our way to Cherbourg, France where we expect to find our favorite cheese: Brillat-Savarin!