We've had a wow of a day in the Douro Valley reknowned for vineyards, especially of the major Port wine producers.
You pass through the mountains to get to the valley which is in a different climatic zone to the coastal plain where Porto is located. It was very warm and muggy when we stopped at Pinhao the centre for all the major producers. We visited Quinta da Roeda, the oldest and biggest in the area and owned by Croft. (Incidentally John Croft was a Yorkshireman)
The Estate produces grapes for Port production only.
Whilst touring the vineyard we could hear thunder and when we went in for a tasting there was a heavy downpour. We tasted Rose port which is an innovation of Croft created in 2005 and put on the market in 2008. It is hoped to appeal to a younger market and be used in cocktails etc. I was a bit disappointed with it as I thought it would be lighter and of this, the Ruby and the Tawny my preference was still the Tawny Port. ( Incidentally I got locked in the toilet here. Rushing to use the facilities before we left I didn't notice there was no handle on the door. After banging and shouting to no avail I rang Chris. Fortunately there was a signal and he answered!)
We had a super three course lunch with wine and coffee and the sun was back out when we emerged. I only mention this as it was very warm today for me but the Portuguese were complaining as at this time of year it is usually 40 - 45 degrees C in the valley which is why the grapes thrive. I'm so glad it wasn't today! Also for this reason the wine produced here is transferred to the Porto caves for storage where it is cooler as there's would be too much evaporation here.
After a boat trip on the Douro we went up to another small Quinta (da Jalloto) a family vineyard where wines are produced. Here we had white, rose and red wines accompanied by their own produced Olive oil and honey. The olive trees are planted to stabilise the terraces so this is a fortunate by product. We also got this amazing view having climbed up very steep, cobbled, single track roads. Thankfully someone else was driving.
What a fab day, don't think we need more food or drink tonight.
Screens are up in the centre of Porto for tonight's match and excitement is building. I've just heard the Portuguese National Anthem playing in the Mercado adjoining the hotel where they also have screens. We may take a look or just listen to the reaction of the crowd.