O Gaveto, Porto, a brilliant seafood restaurant

I had one of my meals of the year at O Gaveto in Porto, a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a traditional Portuguese seafood restaurant in Matosinhos, the port area of Porto. It’s run by brothers João and Jose Silva, and the restaurant was started by their father.

The food is superb, and the service fabulous. The [...]

In the Douro: Niepoort

Niepoort’s Quinta do Nápoles

Next stop on the Douro trip: Niepoort.

It was a real pleasure to spend a few days at Quinta do Nápoles with one of my favourite people in the world of wine, Dirk Niepoort. Dirk picks early, so when we visited harvest, this year a little later in the Douro, was well [...]

In the Douro: Vallado

Francisco Ferreira

After visiting Vallado’s property in the Douro Superior earlier in the week, it was time to visit the original Quinta, which is on the border of the Baixo and Cima Corgo subregions. Vallado has some lovely old vineyards, and we tasted the whites at the top of the hill with Francisco Ferreira, winemaker [...]

Foot-treading grapes at Quinta de Vargellas, Douro

One of the remarkable things about Port wine is foot treading grapes. For top quality Port, it’s necessary to extract as much as possible from the skins as fast as possible, but also as gently as possible. The best way to do this is in shallow fermentation vessels called lagares, which are usually made of [...]

In the Douro: Quinta do Crasto

Quinta do Crasto is one of the most beautiful properties in the Douro, perched on a steeply sloped promontory sticking out from the right bank of the Douro, in the heart of the Cima Corgo.

We parked our rental car in Pinhão and caught the train to Ferrão. It’s a 7 minute ride along the bank [...]

In the Douro: Quinta do Vale D. Maria

Cristiano Van Zeller

We arrived at Vale Dona Maria late afternoon in a torrential downpour. A rather sodden Cristiano Van Zeller walked over to us and greeted us warmly. It was nice to be back: this is the third time I’ve visited in four years. It’s a beautiful spot, and Cristiano purchased it from his [...]

In the Douro: Vale Meão

Vale Meão is an important property in the Douro Superior. It traces its history as a Quinta back to the end of the late 19th century, when Dona Antónia Ferreira was the first to plant vineyards in this part of the Douro. It was a difficult time for the regional council, and to raise funds, [...]

In the Douro: at Vallado's Casa do Rio

I’m in the Douro. It’s 0720 and from where I’m sitting I have a view of the Douro river, looking out from my room at Quinta do Vallado’s new luxury hotel Casa do Rio. And it’s pouring with rain. Normally, rain at harvest time would be a disaster, but it has been really dry here, [...]

In the Alentejo, Portugal, for just a day

I’m just on the way home from Lisbon. I’ve spent today consulting for a major Alentejo winery that changed hands a while back. The new owner is smart enough to seek outside opinions before making changes, and through his new winemaker made an approach to me.

So I visited, looked around the vineyards, had a look [...]

Conceito Bastardo 2007 Douro, Portugal

A few years ago – back in November 2008 – I was judging wine in Porto. I met up with some Portuguese wine people for dinner, and ended up leaving with a magnum of this. I remember getting a lift up to my floor at 3 am with the manager of the Canadian rugby team [...]