Douro Valley

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Porto, The Douro Valley, March 2019

 

 

The Douro wine boasts the oldest appellation contrôlée in the world, awarded in 1756. The vineyard of the Haut-Douro valley was declared World Heritage in 2001. The soils are schistose, and to a lesser extent granitic. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by a hot, dry summer and often violent autumn and winter rains. The cultivation is done on vineyards steep, arranged in terraces. The shale rock is up to 1.30 meters deep to allow water infiltration and development of the root system. Older vines can have roots of 49ft (15m).
Wine has been produced in the Douro Valley since antiquity, but it was not until the 17th century that the name “Porto Wine” appeared, a wine that was very popular in England. Following a French embargo that deprive them of the clairet de Bordeaux, they find in the port a similar wine.With poor support for travel, Jean Beardsley, an English merchant, decides to add wine brandy pure in order to increase its degree of alcohol The porto is born.In 1756, a committee meets to guarantee quality criteria, a forerunner of protected designations of origin.The port casks had to be transported by boat, (the rabelos) to Vila Nova de Gaia, where the main port companies were located.These boats are no longer used today but can still be seen on the river.
Sandeman is a brand of Port and Sherry wines founded in 1790. Its well-known logo depicts a man wearing the name of Don, wearing a Portuguese student cape and a large Spanish hat. In addition to Port and Sherry wines, it also produces brandy and Madeira wine.
For many years, the crushing was done by the pickers. Now, machines do it, simulating the human step but without breaking the nuclei that can bring a dose of acidity in the wine. The wine is kept in barrels to age and macerate. To cut this maceration, wine water is added. At this stage, port wine can now be preserved.
A wonderful journey in the Douro Valley. We were lucky because the sun was at the rendezvous. We followed the route of Virée-Malin which provides a good overview of the valley. We did not take a boat ride or take the train, another time, surely.
A small picnic high in the Douro Valley, near the Port Sandeman farm that we visited just after. Of course, a tasting was required at the end of the visit.
This day was too my birthday and my friends made me the surprise of a cake that we ate with great pleasure especially with the view we had, enchanting. Blowing candles was not obvious …
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