Upon our arrival in Porto, there seemed to be a certain mystique in the air, particularly since it was overcast and drizzling lazily.  It were as if the city was teasing us to unravel the secrets that it was concealing with fog and the narrow winding streets on both sides of the Douro River.  The looming shadow of the Sandeman “Don” was out in the open as well as hidden throughout the beautiful tile rooftops.  As we wove our way up the riverbank on the Vila Nova De Gaia side, passing cellar after cellar, we were getting very excited about our tour, tasting and dinner at Graham’s.  When we pulled up to the storybook entrance of Graham’s vineyard, it was clear that this was going to be an excellent stop on our journey.  The vines climbing up the side of the building and the lush gardens outside made it hard to believe that you were in the second largest city in the country of Portugal.  As we entered into the belly of the Graham’s cellar, what struck me was the eerie stillness and how coolness the air was inside.  It’s no wonder that in Portuguese the word for cellar is “cave”.  It felt like a bat cave but in it many of the most sought after wines were produced from Porto.

We began the tour at Graham’s, winding our way through the various areas holding either the large wooden vats for the Ruby ports or the smaller casks where the tawny ports aged for up to 30 years in some cases.  It was truly fascinating to experience the sights and aromas that are part of the production process.  As a port wine enthusiast, it made me appreciate even more how much time, effort and love goes into making it. After completing the tour, we emerged in the beautiful natural wood ambiance of the tasting room.  Lined up in front of each visitor were three different glasses exhibiting the unique styles of port produced there.  Let me say that after all of the travel and anticipation, those glasses of port tasted better than ever!  I was definitely in heaven.

We had made reservations at the Graham’s restaurant called Vinum … and this definitely turned out to be our favorite meal in Porto.  From the food, to the wine, to the service, we enjoyed every minute of it.  Did we mention the scenery?? It’s an absolutely gorgeous restaurant.  A little on the pricier side (especially for Portugal), but worth every single Euro.  We think this restaurant totally blew the others away – and believe us – we visited some other highly touted restaurants (which we won’t name). Vinum took classic Portuguese food and totally pushed the boundaries, making the food classic, but in a different more fun way.  All in all, a true culinary experience.  The sausage was probably our favorite … and paired with the Altano Duoro Reserva – DELICIOUS.  This was the first of many times that we experienced the glory that is Portuguese sautéed clams.

To end our meal, we enjoyed a special treat to celebrate our honeymoon – a nice glass of 30 year Tawny Port from Graham’s.  The dessert paired with the caramel-like flavors of the Tawny and was the perfect end to a perfect meal. We absolutely recommend that you visit Vinum if you visit Porto.  We give it a unequivocal 10.

-Jeff