Lisbon, Alfama, Alentejo, Beira, Bairrada, Dao, Pinhao, Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Indulge your senses on a handcrafted tour of Portugal’s diverse wine regions. Including the famous reds from the Douro Valley, the ocean-influenced whites from Bairrada, the vintage ports from Porto’s cellars, Muscat in Setubal, and green wine in Minho, your tasting sensibilities will be overflowing. Spend a day in old-world Alentejo, and then another in historical Dao with winemakers and cellar-masters leading your exploration throughout. This is a country of microclimates and diverse terroir,...
Lisbon – An Atmospheric Welcome to Portugal
Lisbon is a lively city as street musicians strum along the promenade, locals gather on city squares, and the hum of chatter accompanies the smell of coffee. Grand monuments run through the heart of the city, yet they do not impose, instead, they provide a backdrop for an evening walk, something enjoyed by most locals every day. In some neighborhoods, the streets are tight and hilly with people gathered outside their front doors to chat and watch the world. There are markets, restaurants, Mediterranean terraces and so much more that make for a city that lives outdoors. So touch down, check-in, and check out the streets as this magnificent city is your base for the next four days.
Lisbon – The Vineyards of Bucelas
Bucelas is a wine region in decline as while Lisbon has expanded, the city has eaten into the vineyards. Production is down, but what remains produces high-quality wine and keeps alive three centuries of legend. Semi-dry wine wines are the revered specialty with a cold fermentation process setting them apart from elsewhere in coastal Portugal. The Duke of Wellington introduced them to England, and for over a century it was the white wine of choice for the British upper class. Today, winemakers are reviving that style and developing red wines on the loam soils as well. Visit two wineries in this DOC region, starting with the fashionable Arinto whites before delving into reds that will ease you into Portuguese flavor diversity. It is only 30 minutes back to Lisbon for a second evening to explore the city.
Lisbon – Famous Muscat Producers of the Setubal Peninsula
Port comes from Porto and Muscat comes from the Setubal Peninsula. They have been cultivating wine here for some 4,000 years, and while many world wine regions produce Muscat, the original is found along the beautiful coastline you explore today. Sit down with a cellar-master and learn how Moscatel de Setubalevolved, and then sink your nose into its sweet floral notes. You will sample various vintages and appreciate why this wine influenced the world. Have lunch at another estate and then delve into the Setubal reds, most notably the rounded Palmela. Back in Lisbon, you can dine at TimeOut Market, where the city’s best chefs each have a stall in a vibrant marketplace.
Lisbon – A Day of Wine Tasting in the Alentejo Region
Of all the regions you will explore, Alentejo seems the most suited to growing wine. The region is sunny, warm and dry for ideal circumstances for grapes that ripen on steep mountain slopes. Production is high, but so is quality, as you will soon discover with visits to three wineries. Tour a boutique vineyard with a winemaker to learn about the old world and the new world of processing here. Taste at a prestigious estate that has garnered much international acclaim, and then delve into a vineyard that keeps the tradition alive and performs most of the viticulture process by hand. Alentejo white wines are tropical with a hint of acidity, old world in style but tasting like the new world white wines that have recently become so popular. Wild red berries dominate the nose on the good red wines, which are heavy and rich in tannins, and are real full-bodied stuff to accompany food.
Bairrada – The Fresh DOC Wines of the Atlantic
Drive to Bairrada as the Atlantic Ocean waves crash beneath the cliffs. Surf-washed beaches stretch out for miles as the wind rushes past, and you can quickly imagine that the winters are cold and wet. This climate suits specific cultivars, so your tasting journey takes you through the aromatic scents of Baga and Bical, along with others that do well here. Like yesterday, you will visit three wine estates, including one that is mostly unknown and another that has enjoyed fame over the last century. After an enjoyable day, you will spend the night on the coast, with plenty of time to go down to the beach to enjoy the sunset over the waves.
Douro Valley – Immersed in the Wines of the Dao Region
Driving north and a little inland, you will be on route to the Douro Valley. Roads weave over the hills, and soon you will be surrounded by the vines of Dao. Sandy soils sit on top of granite while the mountains provide relief from weather extremes. Over the centuries many indigenous grapes have been crafted, blending them into a telltale Portuguese style of oak-driven red blends, with Touriga Nacional, the dominant partner. These are wines to savor and wines to age, as their complexity shows best some ten years from vintage. Visit a small estate to get acquainted with the Dao DOC style before an opulent tasting at the region’s most celebrated vineyard.
The cellar-master brings out various past vintages, offering an appreciation of how Dao Region red wine really matures with age. The tannins soften, and the grapes start to win over full oak flavors, making these great wines to take home and cellar. As with all of your days on this itinerary, your guide can advise how to transport your wines home. Most estates use inbound shipping companies so the wines can be ordered and delivered before you have left Portugal. From Dao, you will continue across the hills to the grandest of Portuguese wine-lands, the World Heritage Douro Valley. Check in to your hotel above the Douro River, and then spend time exploring the cute village of Pinhao.
Douro Valley – A Day Amid the World Heritage Vineyards of the Douro
The Douro is the world’s oldest demarcated wine region with quality standards set before anywhere in France, and you can taste this at three historic wine estates. Begin with a stroll down through the steeply terraced vineyards to take a look at the schist and granite terroir and learn how the vines send their roots 20 meters beneath the ground to thrive in adversity. You can then taste the results. At the first vineyard, you can sample wines while on the edge of the river, and beneath the vines. At the second, you can enjoy the trademark Douro views with a food and wine pairing served up high above the riverbank.
Then at the third, you can delve into old vintages to taste how the soft sweet hue is tempered with age, which is precisely why the Douro gets its reputation. Over the day, you can taste wines from all three Douro Valley sub-regions to compare the nuance that the region can create. Judicious wine buyers will find this a challenging, but highly rewarding, place to stock their cellar. Many get it wrong, but the critics that get it right are those that have been celebrating Douro Valley and pushing its reputation into the stratosphere.
Porto – Sailing Down the River to a Vintage Port Experience
The wind ruffles your sails, and you drift down the River Douro, a half-day cruise taking you past a blanket of terraced vineyards and lush mountain slopes. Lunch is served on board alongside wines from the region. Cruising into Porto, you will disembark on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river, where almost a dozen port cellars stand like a patchwork along the slope. Delve into the musty smells and seemingly endless rows of barrels, a cellar-master leading the tour through a world-famous port producer’s facilities. Sit down to enjoy a tutored vintage tasting with ports of up to 40 years old being sampled as a grand introduction to Porto. This evening you will visit a second port producer, where the restaurant creates a menu that pairs food with different port wines.
Porto – Green Wine on the Costa Verde
Travel north, the sweet taste of port still in your mouth as you hit the Costa Verde, the Green Coast. This is Portugal’s breadbasket, a region famed for agriculture that has recently started experimenting with wines. Winds rush in off the Atlantic to send mist across the mountain slopes. The result is a crisp and very light white wine, low to medium in alcohol, and nicknamed green wine. It is almost impossible to compare these with the wines of Douro Valley, despite the regions being less than two hours apart. These are fresh wines for drinking now, best on a summer day, or when you need an easy start to the day. The reds are similar and would be drowned by food, but a bottle of Minho Costa Verde would not go amiss on an afternoon picnic. Like always, you can visit at least two wineries to explore the farms and cellars, and enjoy a tutored tasting of both current and past vintages.
Porto – Free Day to Explore Porto
Porto is so different from Lisbon. Azulejo tiles dominate the architecture of the old city to create mosaics at train stations and on townhouse facades. Small wine bars are found down cobbled lanes while steep staircases lead to churches and a cathedral from the 12th century. Down at the waterside, you can gaze across at the port cellars while deep into the city’s urban core, you will find that almost every building has a painted or azulejo facade. After eight solid days of wine tasting, this day is left free so that you can explore Porto at your leisure with its sights and sounds a leisurely way to end your vacation. Your guide can recommend restaurants for your evening, and there are two Michelin-starred places that celebrate both the old and the contemporary of northern Portuguese cuisine.
Porto – Departure
After ten nights in Portugal, you will have visited eight different wine regions and tasted at over 20 wine estates. Your purchases are already on route home, and you will be leaving with a grand understanding of one of the world’s most diverse wine countries.
- Explore the Douro Valley and sink your palate into its luscious red wines
- Discover the beauty of Lisbon as you spend several nights in one of the world’s most-loved visitor cities
- Spend a day with muscat producers in Setubal, and then compare the taste with a day in the port cellars of Porto
- Sample the rarified wines of the Atlantic, your tour including a day of tasting on the Costa Verde, the Minho region, and a day with the white wines of Bairrada
- Cruise down the Douro River and spend several nights in Porto, a small city of elegance and enchantment
- Sample the wines of Alentejo, one of the most admired of Portugal’s old demarcated wine regions
- Compare the flavors by stepping into the new world to visit the cellars of the Dao region
- Experience both old and new processes used for wine production in Portugal, with winemakers and expert guides leading the way
- Explore world-famous estates as well as unknown boutique wineries, your time spent in handpicked places that best reflect Portugal’s diversity
Portugal is a country of microclimates. The Atlantic Ocean winds buffet parts of the coast to bring cold wind and mist while the country’s east is harsh and dry, an arid place where Moorish villages are cast in dust. Rivers meander through lush interior while mountain chains create enclaves away from the meteorological challenges. Climate influences the grapes, yet European wine is also defined by its terroir. Portugal leads the way in diversity with schist, shale, granite, clay, loam, silt, sandy soils and more. The unique terrain adds up to a country of incredible viticulture variety, where every region produces something absolutely different to the next, and that is the focus of this handcrafted tour.
Over 11 days you can explore Portugal’s eight most important DOC regions. DOC means Denominacao de Origem Controlada, the highest wine of origin demarcation possible in Portugal. With a day spent in each region, you can meet the winemakers, explore the processes, tour the vineyards, and understand why the wines taste so different. There will be a lot of tastings as you visit world-famous producers along with boutique wineries, each day featuring two to four tasting sessions. This tour is designed for curious wine drinkers and encourages experimentation to bring new flavors to your palate. Along with tasting, you will have time to discover more of the regions and cities as wine provides a lens to get to know the diversity of Portugal.
Start with several nights in Lisbon as with the grand capital as a base, and you can enjoy leisurely evenings in different neighborhoods as each in Lisbon has its own history and atmosphere. Begin with an introduction to classic Portuguese flavors in the small Bucelas region with the next day exploring the sweet floral notes of Setubal muscat. The following day will take you into the old-world wine world of Alentejo, perhaps the best known of all Portugal’s wine regions before you head to the coast and the surf-washed beaches of the Atlantic, where the climate produces some impressive results.
Dao is just across a mountain, but it is sheltered from weather extremes. Taste its various varietals before spending a couple of nights in the World Heritage wine-lands of Douro Valley. Indulge in the rich, fruit-driven reds and settle into the elegance of the region, coming to understand why it is becoming one of Europe’s most revered wine destinations. From here, you can cruise down the Douro River to Porto, where a vintage port experience awaits in a musty cellar. Refresh the palate with the light greenwines of Minha before the last day is left free for you to explore Porto.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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