Port Tasting in Porto

Let’s be blunt about this – the best port tasting tours in the world are in PORTO! I had a great time Port tasting in Porto on both of my trips! Porto is a popular tourist destination and Portugal’s second city. I suggest that you spend at least 3-4 days there if possible. At least one of those should be spent Port tasting!

I highly recommend that you visit a handful of the Port Cellars in Porto. You will have already heard of some of them including Croft, Taylors and Sandeman, because these Ports are very popular in the UK and USA. But there are other popular Port Houses in Porto that have excellent quality Port such as Kopke, Quinta do Noval and Ramos Pinto.

Vila Nova do Gaia Porto

I’m excited to share my tips on visiting the Porto wine cellars and port houses, but first let’s explore what Port is and how it is made…

What is Port and how is it Made?

The process of making this type Portuguese wine is more complex but it produces a flavour that’s generally thought to be richer and smoother. This port style starts as a dry still wine before being sweetened by adding extra sugar after fermentation, with the port then going through ageing in oak barrels while also retaining some of its colour; resulting in a taste that has an earthier flavour than other types.

Because the Port has been fortified with grape spirits it makes it stronger and keeps it from spoiling. The alcohol content by volume of port is usually about 20%. It can be any type, red or white, but the most common style of port today is ruby or tawny port made from red grapes.

Different types of Portuguese Port

Ruby Port

This type of Portuguese wine starts off as a dry still wine before being sweetened by adding extra sugar after fermentation. When complete this process creates an amber colored liquid which doesn’t go through aging like other types of ports do; resulting in a flavor that’s less complex than some others but also lighter and easy drinking.

Tawny Port

The process of making this type Portuguese wine is more complex but it produces a flavor that’s generally thought to be richer and smoother. This port style starts as a dry still wine before being sweetened by adding extra sugar after fermentation, with the port then going through aging in oak barrels while also retaining some of its color; resulting in a taste that has an earthier flavor than other types can provide.

White Port

A white port (also known as “white” or “silver”) is made from semi-sweet grapes like Malvasia Fina rather than reds so they have less tannins which makes them sweeter and lighter.

Where are the Port Houses in Porto Located?

Most of the Port Houses and wine cellars in Porto are along the river, on the Southern side of the river to the main city of Porto – the areas is called Vila Nova de Gaia. This was an ideal location for them to set up for both visitors and transportation of the Port by boat.

Port Tasting in Porto Map
Map of Porto with Port Houses marked

You can cross over on one of the many bridges such as the Luis I Bridge, or you can jump across the river on the Douro River Boat Taxi for around just 3€. You can also get across the river by Metro – take the yellow Metro from Trinidad or Sao Bento to Jardim do Morro.

What you need to be aware of is that the area is very hilly. Prepare yourself for a lot of steps – and I mean a lot of steps!

Tips on Visiting the Port Cellars in Porto

  • Book online in advance where possible.
  • Allow extra time to get there due to the windy streets and many, many steps in the Vila Nova de Gaia.
  • Be conscious of how much you drink – you get to try a lot of different ports on these Port Tasting in Porto tours! this combined with the Portuguese heat can be a challenge!
  • Allocate 2-3 hours per tour.
  • Take some cash for purchases – trust me you will want to buy some!
  • Check how much Port you can bring back to your home country if you are on vacation – Brits you may find that this is less than it used to be as a result of Brexit.

Where to go Port Tasting in Porto

Croft

Croft is a family-owned and run business that has reached international success due to the high quality of its Port. It’s one of the most distinguished Port Houses which was founded in 1588. It’s well known for its Vintage Ports as well as for its range of wood aged reserves and tawnies, time-honoured styles refined by skill and experience passed down the generations. However, they are not just about Port, they also have wines from other regions in Portugal such as Alentejo and the Douro Valley.

Croft was my first ever tour with Port tasting in Porto. We walked around for about 2 or 3 hours and it was so worth it! We got to see the wine fermenting in the barrels and walk through the wine cellars. A guide explained the Port making process and so we learnt a lot – as well as drank a lot!

I totally loved Croft’s new Port – the first ever Rose Port called Croft Pink. If you are a Rose drinker, I highly recommend this. I certainly bought a few bottles!

Address:

R. do Barão de Forrester 412,
4400-034 Vila Nova de Gaia,
Portugal

Tel: +351 22 010 9825

Opening hours: Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (closed 1 January, Easter Sunday, 24 and 25 December). The last visit starts 1 hour before closing time.

Sandemans Port House

Sandemans is now run by wine writer Roger Vignoles, who was one of my favourite people to speak with at the event. He has been in charge of Sandeman for over a decade and is not just about Port, but also reds from Portugal such as Douro Valley wines.

Sandeman Casks

Sandemans was one of my favourite places in Porto because of the amazing view from the top! This was the second wine cellar in porto that I was lucky enough to visit. We also had a great tasting session with Sandemans, who were the first ones to bottle their wines back in 1770. At Sandeman you will find plenty of articles, paintings and the most impressive bottle collection in Europe.

If you are truly devoted to Sandeman Port you can actually stay in the House of Sandeman Hostel & Suites which will give you Port themed rooms with a fantastic view over the river Douro and Porto city. If time allows, you can also visit the Sandaman Port House in the Douro Valley.

Address: Largo Miguel Bombarda, 474400-222 Vila Nova de GaiaPortugal

Email: sandeman.visitors@sandeman.com

Phone: +351 223 740 534 / 35 / 33Mobile: +351 937 850 534

Opening Hours: Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (closed 1 January, Easter Sunday, 24 and 25 December).
The last visit starts 1 hour before closing time.

Taylors

In the cellars at Taylors you will find a small museum that has all sorts of information and artefacts from around Porto. They also offer tasting sessions which is really interesting to see how they make their wines in different regions. Taylors Wine Cellars has been making Port for over 200 years.

Taylor’s recently renovated its 300 year old Cellars to incorporate a modern and innovative museum circuit. The story of Port wine and Taylor’s is now told through an extensive audio-guided visit which is available in 13 languages. They recommend at least two hours for the tour, and so it is advised not to arrive later than 4pm. You can turn up on the day, but you are better to book in advance here.

Address: Rua do Choupelo, nº 250
4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Telephone: +351 223 772 973 

Opening Hours:

Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (closed 1 January, Easter Sunday, 24 and 25 December).
The last visit starts 1 hour before closing time.

Ramos Pinto

The founder of Ramos Pinto was a young artist names Adriano Ramos Pinto (1859-1927). Due to his ambition and appreciation of the arts, the House of Ramos Pinto expanded rapidly towards the end of the 19th Century and he invited his brother (Antonio Ramos Pinto) to join him as a business partner.

Allow 2-3 hours to visit Ramos Pinto. The tour itinerary tour offers an overview of the Adriano Ramos Pinto Museum and their wine Lodges.

If you would like to book your tour of Ramos Pinto wine cellars you can book online here.

Address:
Av. Ramos Pinto, n.º 400 – Vila Nova de Gaia

Telephone:
+351 936 809 283 • +351 967 658 980

Opening Hours:
Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (closed 1 January, Easter Sunday, 24 and 25 December).
The last visit starts 1 hour before closing time.

Quinta do Noval

Quinta do Noval exports to 170+ countries worldwide and it’s one of the most evocative names in vintage Port. Quinta do Noval was first owned by the Rebello Valente family who were given it by the Marquês do Pombal (Portugal’s Prime Minister). It was later owned by the Van Zeller family who had to rebuild it following a fire in 1981. Finally Quinta do Noval was sold to AXA insurance group in May 1993.

Quinta do Noval is located right on the river front facing the Douro River, next to Calem Caves. They have also had a vinyard in the Douro valley since the early 18th Century.

Address: Av. de Diogo Leite 256, 4430-175 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Phone+351 22 377 0270

Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 7:30PM

Calem Caves

Just a 4 minute walk from the Dom Luis Bridge, Calem Caves is a popular Port Winery that offer tours telling you about the history and manufacturing of Port. Calem produce white, red, tawny and rose Port. Today, Calem’s most popular product is Velhotes (launched 1934) is the #1 Port Wine brand in Portugal with more than 3 million bottles sold every year.

Calem Caves date back to 1959 when Antonio Calem set his goal of crossing to Brazil and exporting his wine. Originally wines were exported using Calem’s own fleet and in exchange for wood!

Address: Av. de Diogo Leite 344, 4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Hours: 2pm – 8pm (summer 2021)

Phone+351 916 113 451

If you enjoyed Port Tasting in Porto and you still have a day or two to spare, the next thing you should consider is heading into the Duoro Valley for wine tasting in the destination of the Vinyards!

Have you been wine tasting in Porto? If so I’d love to hear your comments below!

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