Raise a toast over the River Douro

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Taste Tour Of Porto - the­ge­orge.pt; winequay­bar.com is our fea­tures ORLA THOMAS ed­i­tor. She trav­elled to Porto with sup­port from Visit Por­tu­gal.

Just the other side of Dom Luís I Bridge, Vila Nova de Gaia is to Porto what Brook­lyn is to Man­hat­tan: the for­mer in­dus­trial bit, rapidly gen­tri­fy­ing, and with by far the best views of the city sky­line. Tech­ni­cally a sep­a­rate city, Gaia (as lo­cals call it) is best known for its port lodges. Be­long­ing to that old-school tra­di­tion but tread­ing new ground is The Ge­orge, run by the 18th-cen­tury port ," 1&#007 0 ," ,"#+ ,Ɵ -!)2 '*1 here make in­ven­tive use of these her­itage in­gre­di­ents. Drinks are served on a river­side ter­race along with small plates made us­ing sim­i­larly prized lo­cal pro­duce, such as cured tuna and At­lantic clams. Head­ing for the Ribeira side I cross the bridge, from which two lads wear­ing only shorts are en­ter­tain­ing a crowd by mak­ing dar­ing leaps into the Douro. Tucked among the colour­ful façades that de­scend to the wa­ter’s edge is the unas­sum­ing Wine Quay Bar. ‘My great-grand­fa­ther 31#" 2- 03, 2&# !312-+1 -$̭!# $0-+ &#0#Ơ and the build­ing has be­longed to my fam­ily for over 100 years,’ says co-owner

Filipa Gar­cia Fer­nan­des, as she pours me a glass of vinho verde, Por­tu­gal’s young ‘green wine’. The bar’s long, nar­row ter­race over­looks the river walk­way, where peo­ple sit lis­ten­ing to a busker play his gui­tar and watch­ing tour boats go by. ‘My hus­band Moisés and I started the busi­ness be­cause we wanted our work to be some­thing we’re both pas­sion­ate about,’ Filipa adds. ‘ The only other thing we both re­ally love is Star Wars, so it had to be wine.’ The cou­ple ac­quired the wine knowl­edge they needed to open the bar by drink­ing. ‘We were al­ways say­ing, “Why does ev­ery­one talk about port wine and not the nor­mal wines?” We have such great wines in Por­tu­gal, but they have no .0-̭*#Ɵư '*'. 1#21 "-5, !& 0!32#0'# board of smoked ham and a plate of cheese made with Azorean cow’s milk, turn­ing to tell a cou­ple more about the bot­tle they’ve or­dered, a min­eral-rich white from near Lis­bon. ‘It’s stupid to 1 7 2& 2 2- %#2 %--" "4'!# -, ̭,# 5',# you have to be able to af­ford to eat at a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant with a som­me­lier,’ she says, ges­tic­u­lat­ing em­phat­i­cally. ‘What we do here is to of­fer that level of ser­vice, of in­for­ma­tion, but with­out a dress code or any for­mal­ity.’

Filipa Gar­cia Fer­nan­dez runs Wine Quay Bar on the banks of the Douro. Above, from left: Mixed desser ts at San­de­man’s bar The Ge­orge; a view to­wards Ribeira from in­side The Ge­orge

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