As you read in the last blog, Porto is the world producer of porto wine, but the grapes have to grow somewhere. Well that somewhere is the Alto Douro valley and is the region east of Porto following the Douro River.
This region is actually a World Heritage Site because “wine has been produced by traditional landholders in the Alto Douro region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th century, its main product, port wine, has been world famous for its quality. This long tradition of viticulture has produced a cultural landscape of outstanding beauty that reflects its technological, social and economic evolution.”
We left Porto and drove east along the highway (A4) until right before Vila Real where we picked up a small country road (N2) that headed south over the mountain and into the Douro Valley. This road was narrow, twisty, full of switchbacks, and absolutely GOURGEOUS!!! Everywhere we looked there were terraces up the hillside full of grape vines. Throughout this region the ground is full of a shale type rock that looks like long pieces of petrified charcoal. It was so cool I got a piece for myself and my dad. It is the perfect gift for him….FREE!!!! Haha
Our final destination was the town of Folgosa, on the south shore of the river, where we were staying at Quinta da Azenha. This charming farm house was a perfect fit for this region. It was originally built in the 16th century and was a very long two story house. On the bottom level they had their wine making equipment and we indulged ourselves to their $3 a bottle house wine. ????
I have to tell you, I cannot think of better place to unwind than right here in Portugal’s historic wine country and that is what we did. Come back for the next blog and we are going to check out the prehistoric rock art!