The Rise of Portuguese Wine Tourism

april 20,2011

Written by Trond Arne Undheim

Lisbon and Porto the newest winetourism hotspots
Portugal is emerging as one of the trendiest travel destinations right now. The Portuguese have polished their jewels: trails, B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, discos, spas and wines. Visit before the floodgates open. Start with Lisbon, then go to the plains of the Alentejo towards the south and finish in Porto, exploring the more northern valleys of the Dão and Douro Rivers. If there’s time, a swim along the Algarve coast is not bad either, but mass tourism abounds down there already. Instead, avoid the masses and retreat into the countryside and blend with the locals in two, astonishingly fresh, European cities, Lisbon and Porto.
Interestingly, in this time of economic crisis, the wine industry is the most important sector of Portuguese agriculture. Portugal’s natural resources have always been fantastic. However, to the benefit of tourists and residents alike, the quality of tourist establishments have improved immensely over the last decade. As is the trend internationally, the approach to wine tourism has evolved, too, mainly because of a new generation of vintners who eyes the international public. Browsing the The Wine and Food Lover’s Guide to Portugal by Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter, one finds there are plenty of places to stay and plenty of good wine, and not only Port wine. “Life is good, but wine is better,” said the author Fernando Pessoa (1988-1935). Why not connect the two?
Lisbon, Europe’s westernmost and sunniest capital for sure, is aptly called “the city of explorers.” As the travel site GoLisbon says: “You’ll love Lisbon if you loved: the romantic decay of Venice, the emerging hipness of Barcelona in the 90s, the exoticism of Naples or Istanbul, the nightlife of Madrid, or the laid-backness of Rome.” Not to forget, Lisbon has established a reputation as one of Europe’s main clubbing cities. I spent a few sublime, early morning hours at the Fizz Beach Bar disco in Cascais, outside Lisbon at the mouth of the Tagus river, while the Atlantic waves (perfect for surfing) almost crash in on the dance floor. But the most undeniable attraction of Lisbon is its fish restaurants. The fish served is unparalleled in its freshness and presentation: you pick your fish while it is still alive, with Vinho Verde as a delicious wine choice. Coming out of one of them, the Cervejaria Relento, I remember thinking I will never eat fish again anywhere else. Even locals continue to be amazed. Lisbon’s mighty mix of the old-fashioned and the hip; of the historic and the modern, is also a clue to its wines. Here, tradition and innovation meet in emerging brands, vintners and wine establishments that are about to go global.
Upon mentioning the city of Porto, most people will immediately think of Port wine. But beyond wine, Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river. It is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Visit the cathedral with its Romanesque choir, the neoclassical Stock Exchange, and the Portuguese style Church of Santa Clara. The Yeatsman is a high end wine hotel that opened in 2010, aiming to have the world’s best and biggest wine cellar for Portuguese wine. The place is owned by the Fladgate Partnership, a family based management group whose principal business, the production and marketing of premium Port wines, Fonseca, Taylor’s and Croft, was established over three centuries ago in 1692. Says Claire Aukett, marketing manager: “With a Caudalie spa, a kids club with entertainment and babysitting service, and 20 parent parent discount for the second room, it is also family friendly accommodation”. Porto is also the place of many wine festivals, such as Essencia do Vinho, where I recently tasted myself through the old stock exchange full of tastily embedded wine stands in the ornate Arab Room, an oval chamber that attempted to copy Granada’s Alhambra Palace. In the outskirts of Porto, UNESCO has again awarded the Douro valley landscape for being representative of the full range of activities associated with winemaking – terraces, quintas (wine-producing farm complexes), villages, chapels and roads. The Douro Boys, five great Douro estates who joined forces five years ago in a massive PR campaign: Quinta do Vale Meão, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta Vale Dona Maria, Quinta do Vallado and Niepoort Vinhos (Nápoles), are the most visible result of that tradition at the moment.
The Portuguese wine scene is about to become famous for one particular indigenous grape, Touriga Nacional. The reason is that the tourism authorities believe it is good branding, despite the fact that there is a wide variety of local grapes here, and also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruity, easy drinking wine style of Vinho Verde from the Minho region is the choice for a fresh, uncomplicated fish dish.
From Lisbon to Porto, to the resort towns, Estoril and Cascais on the Atlantic coast or the Algarve coast, or the two archipelagos off the coast – the Azores Islands and Madeira, from fish to monuments oto discos, Portugal is branding itself as a lifestyle choice for vacationer and wine-lovers alike. To turn Pessoa’s phrase around, “wine is good, but life is better”, or rather, the two are intertwined.
Trond’s Picks
Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (2008, $20, 88/100)
This wine is produced from old vines, from vineyards aged more than 30 years. It is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela grape varieties. This is a grand wine, complex and highly aromatic. It ages in French and American oak barrels for 16 months and remains another six months in the cellar. It has a deep red color, a floral aroma with a hint of ripe, black fruit, toast and spices. The ending is very long, with hints of fruit and cedar.
Quinta do Noval Port wine (2008, $75, 91/100)
Port is a magnificent rich and long-lived dessert wine made from vines planted in along the steep terraces of the Douro River Valley of Portugal. Port is a great way to end a meal. This port has fantastic vanilla, almond, hazelnut and caramel aromas. The texture is velvety, overall, Quinta do Noval is super smooth stuff with uncanny elegance.
Quinta do Vallado Reserva field blend (2008, $50, 91/100)
The blend is from old vineyards with more than 20 grape varieties all mixed. The nose is floral with cherry and citrus zest. The flavour is very concentrated, with balsamic oak notes, fig and black plum aromas and tobacco. All in all, the wine is full bodied, firm with great structure and good acidity, yet with mature and silky tannins. There are some mineral notes and a very elegant finish. This kind of wine asserts with confidence that Portuguese red wine means business.

The Portuguese Wine Scene
Consider wine tourism as an improvement of ordinary tourism. However, there is no need to go crazy on the wine aspect of it. Wine is simply the entry point to interesting sensory experiences in nature, in the city, and in meeting people. Visiting wine country is a sure way to get a personalized trip where you have the chance to make friendships with passionate people along the way.
A Good Nose (wine resource)
Aromas & Sabores Wine Bar 44 Rua Tomás de Anunciação, Lisbon, tel. +351-213-963-985.
Aveleda (winery)
Chapitô (tapas bar & esplanade)
Eleven (restaurant)
Encostas de Estermoz (winery)
Essencia do Vinho (wine fair)
Fizz Beach Bar (disco)
GoLisbon (guide)
GoPorto (guide)
Great Wine Capitals (website)
Infovini (Portuguese wine portal)
Quinta de S. José (B&B)
Quinta do Noval (winery)
Quinta do Pego (B&B)
Quinta do Vallado (winery/B&B)
Quinta Nova (winery/B&B)
The Douro Boys (5 top wineries)
The Yeatsman (wine & spa hotel)
Wines of Portugal
Wonderful land (interactive guide)


Wine lover’s choice – Yats Restaurant and Wine Bar – for the most impressive and practical wine list in the Philippines, over 2700 selections, enough to satisfy the most fastidious connoisseurs. Wine lovers and gourmand foodies from Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Malaysia dine at Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar when they visit Philippines and bring home some rare vintage wines too.

An excellent wine list is not just about 1st growth and cult Cabernet but a seemingly unending selection of affordable aged vintage wines that are not available anywhere else, not even in the best wine shops around town. Yats Restaurant has just that.

Visitors to Clark Philippines and Angeles City no longer suffer from lack of choices for places to eat out or wine and dine. Clark Philippines reviewed over 50 establishments and came up with three top choices in guide to best restaurant in Clark Freeport

Clark Philippines lists Top Three Restaurants in the Clark Freeport Zone and Angeles City areas of Philippines Pampanga province. Clark Freeport is a bustling new cosmopolitan city complete with its own Clark International Airport.

Topping the list is the famous fine-dining Yats Restaurant and Wine Bar located inside Mimosa Leisure Estate of Philippines Clark Freeport.

This restaurant in Pampanga Philippines is highly recommended by food critics and frequent diners in Manila as a place to wine and dine in Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone. Although it is a famous fine dining restaurant with an award winning 3000-line restaurant wine list, Yats Restaurant is also a popular restaurant for family with children. Aside from French Mediterranean haute cuisine, this restaurant also serves healthy food and the best vegetarian cuisines in the Philippines.

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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar
Mimosa Drive past Holiday Inn, Mimosa Leisure Estate,
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