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Portugal

Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it.
[ FRANK MUIR, COMEDIAN AND WRITER ]

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D r i e d S a l t e d c o d – B a c a l h u a – i s P o r t u g a l ’s n a t i o n a l d i s h .

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Portugal is a country of medieval romance, encompassing large cities, quaint villages, sun, sea and exciting islands. Many cultural treasures, like the seductive capital of Lisbon, the enchanting and fairytale town of Sintra and the baroque city of Braga, make Portugal full of many fun and exciting adventures. With such a long sea coast, it is not surprising that Portugal has witnessed many great sailings and arrivals from people of many origins, which have left the presence of their individual cultures and heritage. Ancient and contemporary attractions, green natural parks and mountains, grand rivers, and of course charming seaside towns make Portugal one of the most rewarding destinations for a wine vacation. There are so many cities and towns to explore that are filled with museums, world heritage sites, unique architectural structures and hours of entertainment and sporting events to attend. The food of Portugal is inspired by the Atlantic and thus many of the dishes contain fish, especially salted cod. Because Portugal is not a rich country, most of the regional cuisine comes from either the fisherman or farmers who raise livestock, fresh fruits and vegetables infused with Portuguese olive oil. Many of the cities and towns are named after grape varietals, and the wines are as unique as the travel experiences that await you.

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Portugal has a population of about 10 million people.

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Touriga Nacional, which are the most important of all the red port grapes. The most important wine region in Portugal is Douro. There are over 230 different grape varieties planted in Portugal, and Douro is home to more than 80 of these varieties. The steep terrain creates a backbreaking harvest for the Douro vintners, and the majority of the wine is floated in casks down the Douro River to Oporto, where today they still blend, age and bottle the wine. Portugal’s other major wine regions are Dao, Setubal and Alentejo. The minor regions include Minho and Bairrada.

Blanketed with several shades of green, Portugal has enough grapevines planted to be among the top 10 wine producing countries, but only ranks fourteenth because of its focus on the production of Port. For years, Portugal was known only for its great fortified wines, but recently the production of still wines has been catching up with modern winemaking. The wines reflect their Terroir, which range from cool growing regions to intense heat in other regions. Of Portugal’s wine production, 60-percent is red, rose, or fortified with the remaining 40-percent white wine. The charming riverside city of Oporto, is the center of the Port industry. Port is a wonderfully sweet but very intense, fortified wine, that comes in many different styles, such as tawny, vintage and ruby port. Port firms are called Port shippers because wine was originally shipped in casks to English importers who would bottle and label the wine as their own. The name Port came from the famous city of Oporto, where the shipments orginate. Blending is an important part of producing Port, with each new blend giving the wine distinct personality. The major Port grapes are Codega, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho. These are the white Port grapes used only in a certain style of Port but are found in most table wines produced in Portugal. The red port grapes are Tina Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cao, Touriga Francesa and

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Dao has long been marketed as the producer of Portugal’s best red wine. The region is sheltered on nearly all sides by high granite mountains with a climate between maritime and continental, giving it the capacity to produce great wine. The varietals planted are similar to Douro. Most vineyards are small and scattered amid the pine and eucalyptus trees. A number of wineries (sometimes referred to as quintas) are producing powerful, intense, and well-structured red wines. The Setubal Peninsula is home to sweet, fortified wine made from the local Muscate grape (Moscatel de Setubal), and aged in casks for decades before bottling. The wine turns from amber-orange to a mahogany brown, and after 20 years becomes ebony. Candied fruit notes take on hints of butterscotch and eventually a richness resembling molasses. It is at its best in 20 years, but 50-year old Setubal can be purchased. Alentejo is the largest area in Portugal with large estates and home to the cork trees. Large cooperatives produce a variety of wine in eight distinct districts. Most of the wine is good wine that is reasonably priced. It is difficult not to sample the marvelous, aged Madeira while visiting the wineries of Portugal. The grapes are grown on the rugged, volcanic island of Madeira. This is also a rich, fortified and delicious wine, made from the Bual, Malmsey, Sercial, Verdelho, and Tinta Negra Mole grapes. There are many different styles of Madeira, each with their own characteristics. Fortified with clear brandy, the wine is slowly heated while it is aging. The 20-year-old Madeira’s are the most expensive and anticipated rich wines.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
[ LAO TZU ]

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The Portuguese eat more fish than any other country in Europe

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Port houses for a taste of the delicious wine. The wines regions of Dao, Bairrada and Douro are also easily reached from Oporto. The many new modern hotels with luxurious and chic rooms will add style and comfort to your wine vacation, with several great restaurants, shopping and nightlife located within easy walking distance. Oporto also offers a variety of sporting events, live entertainment including a grand concert hall, and many festivals and special events throughout the year.

The ancient and beautiful city of Oporto is actually two cities in one. The neighboring town of Vila Nova de Gaia that sits across the Douro River, is now merged with Oporto for practical purposes. The Oporto side is older and has a combination of commercial and residential structures with ancient squares, wonderful churches, a historical cathedral and the amazing Sao Bento train station. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy while in the city, between the fabulous shopping and sight seeing. Because of its diverse population there is a large variety of restaurants, pubs, cafés and exciting night clubs and bars. The major attractions on the Vila Nova de Gaia side, are the numerous Port firms and lodges where millions of gallons of the world’s famous fortified wine is aging to perfection. Oporto’s charm is partly because of the presence of historic buildings, hilly streets and public squares that are decorated with some of the most beautiful blue and white Portuguese tiles. It is a great destination and beginning point for a wine trip, with many wine stores to explore and easy access to Vila de Gaia, where you can enter the

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Penada-Geres National Park
Spend a relaxing day in nature as your guide takes you into the beautiful Penada-Geres National Park. The 550-acre park is in a transition zone between the Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian regions, creating diverse climates and amazing flora and fauna. Set your pace as you walk or bike through beautiful mountains, rivers, dams and waterfalls, keeping an eye out for roe deer, fox, mountain goats, otters and more. A gourmet box lunch will travel with you, complete with the wines of Portugal.
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Exploring Evora
Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage site located outside of Lisbon. Hop on a moped with your guide for a day of adventure. See ancient walls, temples and monuments along with some amazing scenery that includes olive groves, vineyards and beautiful fields of flowers. One of the highlights may include a haunting chapel, made from bones and skulls from people of the past. Let your guide take you through the historical periods of this beautiful spot. Lunch will be included, with a wine tasting at the end of your journey.

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Portugal & Its Horses
Portugal has a strong equestrian tradition dating back long before Roman times. Their Lusitano horse is world famous. Horseback riding is deeply woven into the rich culture of the country and has produced fine international riders. Take a dressage lesson in both indoor and outdoor arenas or enjoy a day long Blue Coast ride with several places for longs gallops. Your horse excursions include a picnic lunch and Portuguese wine.

Reservation staff will assist with trip advice.