When we decided to visit Porto, Portugal, one of the first things I looked into were visits to the port houses! I love a glass of tawny port after dinner with some cheese and was interesting in learning (and tasting!) more.
One of the largest and oldest of the founding port wine houses is Taylor, Fladgate, & Yeatman – more commonly known as Taylor’s – founded in 1692. This was recommended to me by a client who had just been to Porto. So we made a reservation for the tour and lunch at their restaurant Barão Fladgate.
All of the port houses are actually located in Vila Nova de Gaia, the city across the Douro River. So once we woke up, we decide to walk across the bridge to Taylor’s. We were lucky with the weather – our only sunny day while in Porto.
We really loved the tour in Taylors. There was so much interesting history to learn about the area and the families behind the company. I also loved that we had an audio guide and could go at our own pace.
The tours come with a free tasting of the Chip Dry White Port and their Late Bottled Vintage. Perhaps if you haven’t had a lot of port before visiting this is a good introduction, but Koen and I were more interested in their Tawny, Colheita, and Vintage Ports, which luckily are available to taste in their lounge.
Because we had lunch at Barão Fladgate, we also sampled a few more port wines to accompany our dishes. I can’t recommend eating here enough! Even if you are visiting other port wine houses, while in Vila Nova de Gaia, you should plan on lunching at Taylors!
Our street – Rua das Flores
Getting closer to the river
First glimpse of the Douro River
Luís I Bridge which connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia
Clothes out drying in the sun
Ponte Luís I
We first wanted to walk along the top, but once seeing all of the steps we decided to just walk along the bottom 🙂
View of the Douro from the bridge
View of Porto from Vila Nova de Gaia
Arriving at Taylor’s to start our tour
The largest barrel n Vila Nova de Gaia
At Taylor’s they still have people stomping the grapes
Different grape varieties
The Night Sky at Quinta De Vargellas: The image lining this tunnel is one of a series of photographs of the night sky at Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas taken by internationally recognized astro-photographers, Cory and Tanja Schmitz. Showing a horizon-to-horizon view of the Milky Way, it was shot at 2am on Tuesday 21st July, 2015. Owing to its remote location, largely free of atmospheric and light pollution, Quinta de Vargellas enjoys spectacular views o the firmament throughout the summer months.
Map of the Douro vineyard area, produced by Viticulture Commission, displaying the names of the parishes containing vineyard estates – or ‘quintas’ – allowed to produce Port. This map was created at a time when the Port trade was undergoing a process of profound reorganization. In 1932, a system of local Farmers’ Guilds was set up. These, in turn, became members of the Farmers’ Federation, better known as the ‘Casa do Douro’.
The view from Taylor’s
Heading to our tasting
Inside the tasting lodge
Ready to taste
The free tastings: Late Bottled Vintage 2013 and Taylor’s Chip Dry – I’m not a big fan of Ruby Port, so I didn’t like the LBV.
We decided to indulge and try the Very Old Single Harvest Port from 1966 – unbelievably delicious!
Barão Fladgate Restaurant
Taylor’s Chip Dry and Croft Pink for aperitif
Salmon with salmon eggs amuse-bouche
My favorite bread while in Porto – cornbread with chorizo
My lobster bisque with tempura prawns and basil cream
Koen’s foie gras with quince peers served with a glass of 20 year old tawny
My cod with tomato sauce and potatoes
Koen’s seafood risotto
The dessert menu – we ordered the cappuccino
Before and after the hot fudge
30 year old tawny digestif