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  • Day39

    Time to taste port

    October 12, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We decided on a slightly later start today as the Estate we planned to visit didn’t open till 10am. We walked down to the funicular again and caught it up to the top to walk across the bridge to Vila Nova de Gaia. Here we caught the light rail a couple of stops, and then made our way to the cellar of Real Companhia Velha, which had been recommended to us by our host Paola. It was a good call as it was a fabulous.

    We first saw a video, giving some history of the Real Companhia Velha - it was the oldest wine company in Portugal, set up originally by the King and Prime Minister. It is now an amalgamation of a number of vineyards that have been acquired over time. We then did the English tour of the cellars with Pedro and, as Ian had selected the premium tasting, once the tour of the cellars was completed we were asked to wait in the cellars while the rest of the group was taken off to the tasting room. When he came back, Pedro gave us special treatment as he knew we were from Melbourne.

    Pedro was a wonderful advocate for the company and was especially excited to talk to us about the Melbourne Grand Prix, as he is a GP fan and Melbourne is his favourite circuit and race. We had to confess that we don’t attend this event and aren’t particular interested in car racing, but he didn’t seem to mind. We were given more of a tour of the cellars, seeing some special port barrels signed by celebrities, including Ayrton Senna, Pierre Cardin, Andie McDowell, and General Franco (Spanish Dictator).

    Pedro also took us on a tour of the owners personal cellar that contains some very rare and precious vintages. Once we finished our special tour we headed to the tasting room where we combined a classic and premium tasting that gave us eight ports to try - lucky neither of us had to drive! Pedro spent a lot of time with us educating us about ports, and I feel I now have a much better appreciation of port. I discovered that I am quite partial to white and rosé port, both of which are nice with tonic water and mint or on the rocks. Pedro is hoping to get to Melbourne for the Grand Prix in 2021, so we gave him our email and told him to contact us if he makes it over, and we would show him around and take him out to dinner. We finally finished our tasting when Pedro’s boss came over and told him he needed to have a lunch break - I think he would have talked to us for another hour or so if he wasn't interrupted.

    We left the estate and made our way back to the light rail to head into Porto for lunch at TapaBento again.
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