Romantic destinations for wine lovers

In need of some Valentine’s Day inspiration? Nigel Buxton picks ten top romantic spots in Europe’s wine regions to share a bottle with that special someone

Romantic destinations for wine lovers: The Douro

The Douro, Portugal

For the first and last time in this romantic round-up we might admit the term ‘breathtaking’. Connoisseurs contend that, once the city of Oporto has been left well behind, the Valley of the Douro more than rivals the Rheingau and the Mosel for spectacular wine country views.

Our appointment is up river in World Heritage territory, about 20 minutes’ boat ride away from Pinhão, at the Quinta do Panascal, in the Valley of the Tavora, a tributary of the Douro. Considered by Fonseca to be its number one winery, the quinta offers a flowered terrace, a prospect of the valley, and what the management (not to be outdone in descriptive enthusiasm) says is ‘un ambiente absolutamente paradisiaco’. Heavenly indeed to sit here with a companion and a well-chilled 10-year-old tawny before a picnic high among the vines. ‘Smooth, silky, mellow, voluptuous, nutty’ are all descriptors used by even the most down-to-earth experts (to apply to the port, one should qualify).

Hotel recommendation:

Quinta do Panascal

5120-496 Valença do Douro, Portugal. Tel: +351 254 732 321

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