Touring 2 Portuguese Winery Hotels; Day 3
The sun is shining, dew is on the vines and I’ve just woken up from a restful nights sleep in a converted 17th-century stable. It is dawn on my third day in Portugal and I’ve fallen in love with the country. The friendliness of the people, the great food and Portuguese wine I have sampled in the Douro Valley so far, and the landscape and views have been truly spectacular. What is there not to love? What’s in store for me today? Today I will explore a little of the village of Provesende before heading out to one of the first wineries in the Douro Valley to sell wine under its own label that is also a hotel. Maybe a little drinking and some lunch with views of the vineyard will happen. Then to end the day we will travel north to a winery that is also a hotel where I will drink and eat some more. This is my kinda day exploring two Portuguese winery hotels and a lot of wine tasting.
After a lovely breakfast at Morgadio da Calcado, my travelling companion and I are joined by our host as we walk through the town. His family has a connection to this town that goes back 19 generations. The Manor was one of 11 manors built by wealthy families that summered in Provesende.
The wealth these families brought to the village is seen in the Igreja de São João Baptista (St John Baptist Church). Built in the early 18th century the outside is very simple but step inside you are wowed by the Baroque decor inside. So much is going on I don’t know where to look. Even the ceiling was adorned.
While the church and manor homes reference the past the 600 or so people that still call Provesende home keep the village alive. There is a local cafe that always seems to have people at it except at the very moment I snapped this photo (June 11, 2018, early morning).
Our host had one more little treat for us. A local baker makes bread the way his father, grandfather, great grandfather … did. I think you get the picture. All the locals come here every morning to pick up a loaf hot out of the stone oven. it smelled AMAZING!
I don’t want to but it is time for us to say goodbye to Provesende and make our way to Quinta Da Pacheca for a tour, some wine tasting and lunch overlooking the vineyards. Quinta Da Pacheca in one of the many Portuguese winery hotels available in the area that you can actual sleep overnight at.
The first thing I notice as we drive into the winery is a large number of wine barrels laying on their side amongst a vineyard. Turns out there are 10 of these wine barrels and they are hotel rooms! A unique accommodation offering and perfect at a winery. I didn’t get to stay overnight in one but I was lucky enough to tour one. OMG, I really want to come back and experience this.
A little further down the driveway is the main building which houses The Wine Hotel registration, guest rooms and restaurant. I’ll be having lunch in this building later. For now, we park and walk a short distance down to the tasting room where we meet our tour guide who will give us a behind the scenes tour of the winery. PRO TIP – this place is very popular so best to make a reservation for a tour in advance.
The tour includes the Barrel Room and the place where they actually still stomp the grapes. I’m told they actually have a stay and stomp package during harvest season. I need to come back for that.
Back in the tasting room, our guide gives us a portfolio tasting. Many of these I plan to enjoy paired with lunch at The Wine House Restaurant. If you have never tried a White Port, do it. It is a fantastic wine and makes great cocktails. Try it paired with tonic. It will surprise you.
Back up to The Wine Hotel Restaurant where a lovely 3-course meal is ready for us. The views are outstanding and I would have taken a photo or two overlooking the vineyards however the sun and glare off the windows ruined most shots. The food, on the other hand, photographed as good as it tasted.
I really don’t want to leave but we must as we are due at our next stop in a couple of hours. Along the way through we pass back through the town of Amarante where we pull over for a break and an espresso.
A short drive north and we arrive at our next and final stop on day 3 of my adventures in northern Portugal. We are at Hotel Monverde aka a wine experience hotel.
The main building where we check in looks at first glance to be quite plain and simple. Step inside and it is anything but. The designers and architect have preserved the original farmhouse from the outside while completely renovating and updating the inside. Including adding a lower level not visible from the front that overlooks some of the vineyards. This building houses the hotel check-in, wine bar/lounge and restaurant.
From the patio of the main building, you can see one of the collections of buildings that are on the property. There are currently three with a fourth undergoing renovation. Each collection offers a different style of accommodation and price point. I am staying at the building you can see below surrounded by vines.
A tour inside my room shows you how modern it is even though from the outside it appears to have “age”. The stone on the outer walls belies how new and modern the space really is.
It’s just after 7am here in Portugal and I am waking up to bird song and the occasional rooster “cock a doodle do”. Had a lovely sleep at @monverdehotel I think you can see why. #hotellife #winehotel . . . @visitportonorth @visitportugal #Portugal #visitportoandnorth @aircanadarouge @aircanadavacations #EuropeYourWay
I absolutely love that my patio doors open out to a vineyard and look forward to my morning coffee here.
After unpacking and grabbing a quick shower to cool off it is time to head back to the main building for dinner and wine pairing. The Executive Chef knows his way around a kitchen. Four courses with four amazing wines all from this winery and their sister winery. 1st Course – Rare seared beef on creamy cauliflower paired with Quinta Da Lixa Escolha 2nd Course – Beef fillet wrapped in bacon paired with Quinta Da Lixa Alvarinho Pouco Comum 2017 3rd Course – Roasted Goat with traditional smashed potatoes paired with Quinta Da Lixa Reserva Branco 2015 4th Course – Melon parfait paired with Quinta Da Lixa Sweet Creations and to end the meal a glass of Aguardente Vinica.
How is that for an end to my day? Amazing.
Well, that was day 3 of my Northern Portugal adventures. Day 4 looks to be just as grand as I head back to Porto. This itinerary was made possible thanks to Air Canada Vacations Europe Your Way, vacation packages. To check out the full itinerary and what I did read all the stories here.