As soon as you’ve dropped your suitcase off, why not head out for a glass of wine! Wine lovers will find any number of places in Porto to get you in the mood, from hip wine bars to splendid hotels. The city provides a spectacular backdrop for tasting Portugal`s huge variety of exciting new ´table wines` or the great eponymous fortified wine – Port – snug in a wine bar in the winter, or chilling on an esplanade in the fine weather. Here are six of the best spots.
Aduela, on Rua das Oliveiras, is one of my favourite Porto wine bars. Located in a converted sowing machine warehouse, close to Praca de Carlos Alberto and the Rua Miguel Bombarda art gallery district, Aduela is a good place to mingle with the local hipster crowd on Friday and Saturday evenings. Late afternoons tend to be more peaceful with lap top types indoors and girls behind shades on the terrace. They have a good wine list and choice of petiscos, including traditional Portuguese cans.
As its name suggests, Capela Incomum is a re-destined chapel and one of the most original watering holes in Porto. Tucked behind the Cedofeita shopping area in a cobbled back street, small tables surround a wooden altar. Bacchus can be worshiped with the aid of an extensive list of wines, paired with tasty cheese and cured meat platters.
In the Rua das Flores, a stone`s throw from Sao Bento railway station with its great azulejos decorated hall, Pateo das Flores has a strong selection of Douro wines as well as ports. They also have a terrace and good service.
Vinum is an exciting new venue on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the River Douro, housed in the Graham`s port wine `lodge`, owned by Symington Family Estates. You enter through one of the enormous warehouses: to your right, the dramatic sight of rank upon rank of ageing port wine casks, and to your left a conservatory built to house the new restaurant with a great view across the river to the city. The cooking is excellent, the service friendly and the wines, as you would expect from the Symingtons, terrific. I drank a Quinta do Ataide 2014 red on my visit with wonderful aromas of forest fruit and dark chocolate and masses of fruit on the palate. There is also a wine bar, if you only have time for a copo. To avoid disappointment, you should reserve.
No review of wine spots to visit in Porto would be complete without mention of the Yeatman Hotel. Owned by The Fladgate Partnership, the Yeatman, like Graham`s, is located on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the River Douro. This sumptuous wine hotel has an incomparable view across the river to the city tumbling down the opposite bank. The Yeatman`s cellars house an extensive collection of Portugal´s best wines, a selection of which you can taste in the bar while gazing out at the city turning golden in the setting sun.
Possibly Porto`s most stimulating wine shop is to be found in Matosinhos, the city`s ocean suburb which also has a must-visit fish market and the fabled Casa da Cha, a beach side restaurant designed by the great Vieira da Silva and now part of the portfolio of top chef Rui Paulo. Garage Wines is well worth the trip as the talented Ivone Ribeiro has curated a discerning selection of Portuguese wines, showcasing in particular – the Douro. Garage Wines also host frequent tastings and wine events.