Hit the port trail in northern Portugal
One of the world’s oldest wine regions, the Douro Valley curves through Portugal’s far north like a beckoning finger and, as the grape harvest gets going, now is the best time to respond to that summons. Deep in the Alto Douro – a cinematic stretch of terraced vineyards and historic wine estates on the Douro River – the village of Pinhão is an ideal base. It’s here that the oldest port house of all (Croft, est 1588) makes wine, at Quinta de Roêda. Visitors can witness the ritual of grape picking and even join in, treading grapes in lagares (granite basins) in the centuries’ old way. You can reward this work in the tasting room with a ruby vintage, cocktail or pink port – though for a truly fitting end, head downriver to Porto. The wine is aged in its slope-hugging cellars and their terraces are the top spot for a toast overlooking the city.
The steep-sided Douro Valley. BELOW FROM LEFT The Vintage House Hotel; cod in ‘Gomes de Sá’ style, with roasted peppers and green sauce, from the hotel’s Rabelo Restaurant