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Trip Guide to the Next Wine Destination: Portugal's Douro Valley

David Nicolas Quinta do Vallado, a wine estate and inn, sits where Portugal's Corgo and Douro rivers meet.

Photo: David Nicolas

The Douro Valley has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage region thanks, in part, to a blockade during one of Great Britain’s squabbles with France in the 18th century. To spite their Gallic foes, British traders sailed past France to the Iberian Peninsula. There, Portuguese vintners readied their red wine for the long trip back to the elite gentleman’s clubs of London by stabilizing it with brandy. The result is what we now know as port. Authentic port is made at quintas (estates) along a narrow river gorge snaking 100 miles through the mountain ranges of tumbled granite that act as a weather barrier for the terraces of vines introduced by the Romans in the third century A.D. Today, this port-producing district, with its determination to preserve the sort of rustic naïveté that Tuscany and Bordeaux can no longer claim, is emerging as the latest stop on the European enotourism circuit, with new restaurants opening and historic quintas being converted into inns. Read the article

Destinations: Douro · Cotas · Peso da Régua · Folgosa · Lamego

Inspired by: Driving Portugal’s Wine Country — by Shane Mitchell, Published Apr. 2008

Hotels (5)

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    Quinta do Vallado

    This hotel overlooks the Corgo River from steep terraces, many of which were shaped by hand 300 years ago. João Ferreira Álvares Ribeiro is a sixth

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    Romaneira - Quinta dos Sonhos

    From the Portuguese for "butterfly lavender", Quinta Romaneira offers a teak-and-fiberglass launch for a cruise between the grassy banks. The 1,000

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    Casas do Côro

    Just south of the Douro Valley, Carmen and Paulo Romão have converted six stone structures into guesthouses with modern suites.

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    Casa de Santa Cruz

    Great Value Near Douro National Park, a small inn that offers 12 comfortable rooms.

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    Casa de Casal de Loivos

    Great Value A 17th-century estate near Pinhão with six antiques-filled guest rooms. Doubles from $148, breakfast included.

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Restaurants (3)

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    Vale d’Abraão

    Regional dishes are served on the patio, which has views of the Aquapura hotel’s vineyards.Lunch for two $125.

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    Douro In

    A popular restaurant that specializes in regional cuisine and wines from boutique vineyards. Lunch for two $70.

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    D.O.C., Folgosa

    An extensive wine list accompanies chef Rui Paula’s modern Portuguese menu. Order the smoked duck breast with requeijão cheese and a glass of tinto

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Activities (2)

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    Quinta do Vale D. Maria

    Vineyard tours and tastings are by appointment only at this boutique producer in the Rio Torta Valley.

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    Quinta da Pacheca

    Tours include tastings and a visit to the wine cellar. The Pimental family plans to open a 14-room inn on the property later this year.

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