Decanter's Great Port Wine Weekend started in great style at the Yeatman Hotel, Oporto's new five star hotel, which was created by the Fladgate Partnership, writes Sarah Kemp. With the swimming pool called the Decanter pool it was inevitable that Decanter's readers felt right at home.
The opening lunch was hosted by Adrian Bridge, Taylor’s and the Yeatman’s CE0, in their private dining room and gave everyone a chance to question him, not just about port, but also about the hotel which was very much “his baby”. The time given to our readers over the weekend by our two hosts, Paul Symington and Adrian Bridge was remarkable and enormously appreciated by all.
The next three days were as described by one reader “a total port lover’s dream” Private tastings took place in both Taylor’s and Graham’s Port lodges, The first night’s dinner was held in the Factory House where the sense of history and tradition enchanted the party, they were equally enchanted by the wines including Taylor’s 20 year old tawny and Graham’s 1970 vintage port.
After a train ride up the magnificent Douro valley (after lunch at Graham’s with the taste of Dow’s 1966 still lingering), the party arrived at Quinta do Vesuvio, the Symington’s private Quinta, and home for the next two nights. Sitting that night on the veranda with a port and tonic in hand, it was agreed that no one could thing of a more stunning setting or anyway else they wished to be.
Saturday was actioned-packed. Adrian Bridge, looking uncannily like James Bond in his dark glasses, arrived to collect the group in his speedboat. A tour of Quinta de Vargellas was followed by a long lazy lunch with Douro wines Quinta do Crasto 2009 and Quinta dos Quatro Ventos, and then the superb 2007 Quinta de Vagellas 1987, all drunk while overlooking some of the world’s most beautiful vineyards.
The final night was spent at Quinta Do Vesuvio for an unforgettable experience of treading the grapes in the lagar. Pickers, Symingtons and Decanter readers all stomped, whooped and danced through what will be the 2011 vintage.
Dominic Symington hosted the final lunch at Quinta dos Malvedos, home to Graham’s port. We said farewell after feasting on locally roasted almonds, local cured meats and Bacalhau com natas. A final taste of Malvedos Vintage 2001 port made one reader declare “I will never have a dinner without port again”. Watch out Florida.
See the Decanter’s Great Port Wine Weekend gallery
Written by Sarah Kemp