If you have never been to Porto, you must know that all the portwine houses have their warehouses on the left bank of the Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia. With the view from Porto’s cathedral to the other river bank I already discover well-known logos: Graham’s, Ferreira, Taylor’s, Calem and finally in the frontrow Noval. The only portwine house to make the Nacional – a vintage port made from grapes from very old ungrafted grapevines. This wine regularly achieves top prices at auctions.
The road to Gaia takes me across the upper platform of the 19th century iron Bridge, which looms majestically between the two shores. This airy height is not easy for people with vertigo. Through the cracks of the planks you can see exactly how deep down on the second level cars drive … However, you also have a fantastic view of the rivermouth. But I admit that I was glad when this part of the city exploration was finished!
Once there, there are two options: either walking down, or going by gondola. I choose the latter and float above the roofs of the warehouses. Suddenly the logos on top of the houses are huge and within reach. Down there the famous portwine that I adore so much is stored. Unfortunately port still does not receive enough attention in Germany. It is often still served in the wrong glass, or you get asked if you want it on the rocks. If you’re lucky and port is in stock at all, it’s usually a simple ruby. White Port, 20 year old Tawny or Colheita still are a rare goods in the local gastro scene.
Getting of feels like being in ski holidays as I need to join the stream of tourists who are all looking for a matching guiding tour in combination with a delicious drink.
I find the entrance to Quinta do Noval’s tasting room just in time, before a decent rain shower creates the perfect tasting atmosphere for portwine. I sit back, listen to our waiter’s comments and enjoy five different ports: from white to the new, not too sweet ruby version Noval Black, to a 10 year old tawny. A Nacional is not amongst those five, I still have to earn it 😉