Sypping on History

When we jetted off to Porto in late November we did so with no plans, no itinerary and only one aim, to see and experience as much of the city and it’s history as we could and when the opportunity arose to visit the Grahams Caves we jumped at it.

One thing I knew that I wanted to try out in Porto was of course the drink that is synonymous with the city itself, Port. 

Having worked in the drinks industry throughout College and University (I guess that’s a nice way to say I worked on a bar) I’ve always enjoyed learning about the history of different drinks, how they are made and of course the best way to enjoy them.

Graham’s is part of the Symington Family of Ports all of which hail of course from the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal and is a name I remember from my time working as a Bar Tender all those many moons ago.

Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, the Grahams Lodge sits proudly looking out over the historic City, the Dom Luis I Bridge and the Douro River, the Caves here are still used to age and preserve the Port in the same way they would have been back in the late 1800’s when the Lodge was constructed.

During our visit we were able to learn all about the history of Graham’s Port, a Port that was created thanks to two brothers from Scotland in the 1820’s and how today it is the only remaining Port company still independently owned by a single family.

Port is rich in flavour, velvety soft in texture and has a sweetness that you cannot find in most other Wines thanks to the hard lives the vines endure in the Douro Valley.

My personal favourite from the ones that we were able to try was the 10 Year Old Tawny Port, it really felt as though I was savouring a little piece of history with every sip I took… I even spotted a 1984 Vintage in their Cellars… Obviously it was a good year for Port too!

One thing I never really realised before was the amount of time and effort that goes into each and every bottle of Port that we enjoy back here in the UK, all of the Vines are hand planted, harvested and even the the Grapes traditionally trodden to ensure that the flavour is maintained and the Grapes are not crushed.

Port makes the perfect post-dinner drink, the perfect accompaniment to a Cheese board and a wonderful tipple to enjoy on the sofa whilst the candles crackle and the tree lights twinkle. 

I think I’ve found the one for me in Graham’s too.

Are you a Port fan? Let me know your favourites below and I’ll catch up with you again soon, until then though x


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