I love wine.
Everyone who knows me relatively well, is probably aware of that.
Yet, when I set foot in Porto at the age of 23, I had never before tasted the fortified Portuguese version that is Vinho do Porto. So when the opportunity arose to go on a port wine tasting, I was all ears. Or all tongue, if you get my drift.
Oops, I have a hangover!
If you’re as enthusiastic about going on a port wine tasting as I was, let me start by giving you the following piece of advice: going on a pub crawl with Porto’s PILOT Design Hostel & Bar when you have a port wine tour & tasting planned the morning after is not a good idea. Let me correct myself… It is a horrible idea.
Yes, the pub crawl itself was a lot of fun and allowed for us to experience Porto’s party scene (also very important if you want to get a thorough impression of the city you’re in, ahem). The hangover that followed the day after on the other hand? Not as much fun.
Stubborn as I am, though, and not wanting to let the opportunity of my very first port wine tasting pass by, I went anyway. So that’s how, after a wobbly tram ride and a long walk up a steep hill (which I don’t recommend when hungover, you guys), I ended up at Taylor’s for their port wine tour with a headache and an upset stomach. Go, me!
Port wine tour & tasting at Taylor’s
After a warm welcome in the beautiful port house Vila Nova de Gaia, we were led to the cellars. Here, our tour started off with some general information about Taylor’s, similar to the following that can be found on their website:
For many, Taylor’s is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports. Established over three centuries ago in 1692, Taylor’s is one of the oldest of the founding Port houses. It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles.
After this general introduction, our tour guide continued with an interesting overview of port wine history. In this part of the tour we learned some interesting tidbits about port wine, before we moved on to the process of port production and were shown the fermentation tanks and barrel rooms.
I have to grudgingly admit, though, that I remember less about the history and production of Vinho do Porto than I should have. My ability to process information that day may or may have not been influenced by some certain aftereffects of the night before.
But you know what I do remember vividly?
The beauty of Vila Nova de Gaia.
As we were being led in the beautiful gardens with our three glasses of port wine, I was astounded by the amazing view of Porto that a tasting at Taylor’s offers. The weather was nice as well, which made it all the more enjoyable. Yep, you heard that correctly, even my hangover couldn’t keep me from enjoying the sun on Taylor’s charming terrace.
It did, however, keep me from fully enjoying the port wine tasting (including a dry white port, a Late Bottled Vintage, and a 10-year tawny). Which was a shame. I did buy a bottle of the 10-year tawny, though, since it was my favorite of the three. That way, I could taste it at a more convenient time, without my stomach capsizing with every sip.
And in doing so, I’ve come to one simple conclusion.
I love port wine.
Information & tips for a port wine tour & tasting at Taylor’s
- Taylor’s is open every day of the week from 10am to 19:30pm. The last entry is at 18pm.
- Apparently, the tour has changed quite a bit since I went there and has now become a self-guided audio tour. More information about this can be found here. The price of this tour is €12 for adults (including a port wine tasting) and €6 for children (including grape juice and crackers).
- A private tour is also possible when booked in advance.
- You can taste extra port wines on the premises. There’s also a restaurant, so you can combine your favorite port wine with lunch or dinner.
- If possible, go when the weather is nice. That way, you can enjoy the gardens and beautiful view of the city.
- My final tip? Don’t have a hangover.
What was the most unfortunate moment that you had a hangover?
Let me know in the comments. I’m curious to find out!
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