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Porto in Portugal

Published by Paulina Czapla — 2 years ago

HI!

Today I would like to recomendate one place.

"Calem"- winery with the best wine I ever try!

Cost of entrence is around 15 euro and price is include of tour guide which will tell you everything about process of making wine, and of course  the best part - wine tasting!

Porto in Portugal

I tried white and red and for me red is better - more rich of flavors.

Porto in Portugal

Porto in Portugal

Also you create you own "Porto Calem board" Witch is essence of you "party preferences" :)

Porto in Portugal

Porto in Portugal

Porto in Portugal

                                            Enjoy!

Photo gallery


Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

Translated by Lottie Davies — one year ago

Original text by Paola Villegas

Porto and Lisbon are two of the most visited cities by tourists in Portugal, and, although Lisbon is the country's capital, Porto has an unrivalled magic and charm to it. Without a shadow of a doubt, all of this gives the city a certain something that makes very few people ever want to leave.

Many of these attractions designed for the influx of tourists are located close to the city centre, and one of the good things about it is that it is very easy to travel around it on foot. Porto is "surrounded" by the Duoro River, where, on the other side, the famous Vila Nova de Gaia can be found (or, "Gaia", for short), which is located in the northern region of Portugal. To get to Gaia from Porto city centre, you will need to walk for around 10 minutes before crossing the beautiful and famous "Ponte de D. Luís", or Luís I Bridge, that passes over the Duoro River and links Porto with Vila Nova de Gaia.

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(In the photo above, I was walking along the underneath part of Luís I Bridge. It's impossible to stop yourself from taking a photo on this legendary bridge, and if you head to the upper part, you will be able to see the trains passing just metres in front of you. )

This bridge is very old, dating back to 1886, and is one of the most emblematic bridges in the city. Trains, as well as pedestrians, cross this bridge; it's really nice to see them pass by when they are right next to you. If the structure seems somewhat familiar to you, I have to admit to you that you are right in thinking what you have thought: it was indeed built by Gustav Eiffel, the very same man who built the world famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(The exterior of Cálem Bodega captured from the area by the Duoro River. )

It's really worth INVESTING (because that is definitely the right word for it) 15 minutes of your time to try some of Porto's best wines at the winery, Cálem. Don't miss out on these beautiful views of the river, the peculiar little coloured houses and the famous bridge. In short, don't miss out on this incredible experience! Many of the winery's tours are conducted in Portuguese, English and Spanish, but if you are coming with a group that speaks another language, you can contact them via email to give them sufficient notice to meet your request.

And how much will it cost me to visit the cellars?

This is the best news of all, as this tour will cost you absolutely nothing! It's 100% free! Not many wineries give you an opportunity like this one, so it is essential that you grab it with both hands and make the absolute most of it.

But before we get started...

Take advantage of the fact that its location is absolutely perfect. Going to Cálem winery is the perfect plan when it comes to improving your cultural experience here in Porto, as it is situated close to several attractions and "cultural" sights, like the coloured houses situated in front of the entrance to the wine cellars. I really recommend taking a boat journey along the river to enjoy the Porto's lovely landscape, which will cost you just 10€ (roughly around $11. 60 based on the current exchange rate).

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(This photo contains lots of pretty things. It was taken from the Gaia region and what you see in front of you is Porto, separated by the famous Duoro River. You can see lots of delightful little houses in a thousand and one different colours that have a tendency to be rather long. You will also be able to see thousands of boats that travel along the river with casks full of wine that will be sold in other countries, although you will also see boats with people who paid for the tour that I was just telling you about. Sadly, it was very cloudy on this particular day, but, aside from that, I would say that the photo is perfect. )

Let's start the tour!

It's impossible to contain your emotion upon entering the winery for the first time, especially after just having been amazed by the scenery that you came across when crossing the street. If you are not visiting in a group of more than 15 people, your visit to Cálem winery does not require you to make a reservation in advance, which is arguably the best thing for tourists with a busy schedule who don't want to commit to arriving at a certain place at a certain time. Tourists like both you and myself know what always happens in these situations: the itinerary that you have planned is never actually stuck to, and, on many occasions, you end up in places that you never would have originally imagined.

The tour begins in a room that acts as a "little museum", where a very, very friendly guide will introduce you to the history of the Duoro Region and to that of Cálem winery, which, interestingly, actually no longer belongs to its founding owner, although the company continues to bear his surname.

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(The design of the bottle has changed quite a bit since the wine company was founded to the present day. In the museum, you will be able to see how the designs have been changing on the bottles as the years have passed. )

The guides are really friendly and they constantly ask you which country you are from; their interest is very much genuine. It doesn't seem like they hold these tours every day, as their energy levels and excitement is the same as it was the first time that they ever conducted one of these tours. After this brief introduction, which lasts somewhere between five and ten minutes, you will feel the temperature of the room decreasing drastically whilst you make your way into the next room. But, relax, it's not necessary for you to put a jacket on to help you "acclimatise".

In this room, the air and lights are controlled naturally, as the room is situated at the same height as the Duoro River, so the humidity is controlled by the river, as well as the temperature (although, they can also control this independently). In this part of the winery, you will learn lots more about the production, the ageing process, and the characteristics of each type of wine that they produce. If you thought that "a twelve-year old wine" was really left to sit for twelve years, you are completely mistaken. The ageing process is sped up by the physical conditions that the wine is left in, and by the type of wood used for the cask that it is kept in. It's all about science!

One of the most impressive things about this room is seeing the flooding "record", which can be seen on the wall. The fact that the winery is situated at the same height as the river, just thirty metres away from it, means that there is constant flooding during the rainy season. There are occasions when the river water ends up coming into the winery, which is then automatically registered on the stone wall. I don't remember what year it was when they suffered the biggest flood, but the wall had a mark at approximately one metre high. Can you imagine a flooded winery? Luckily, the water doesn't reach the wine casks that are sat a metre and a half below ground level - many people say that this gives the wine a better flavour... Who would have thought it?!

How does this perfect experience end?

The most anticipated part of the tour is the wine tasting! At the end of the lovely tour around the winery, you will be able to try some of Porto's finest red and white wines, which happens just after you have visited the wine cellars. If you want to take some of this experience home with you, you should visit the shop located just after the wine tasting room to round out your tour here. There is no excuse for you not to buy one of their wines, as they are priced in such a way that they are affordable for all budgets. For example, you can buy a 375ml bottle (it's not a lot, I know, but it would be a nice little gift for your friends or family) and it would only cost you 6€, which is approximately $7 based on the current exchange rate.

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(Glasses of the wine that I mentioned above. My personal favourite is the white, so I bought myself a 750ml bottle to take back to Mexico; I loved it, but my family thought that it was too sweet. The red wine was also very pleasant. If you were left wanting more, don't hesitate in getting friendly with the waiter before asking him to pour you some more... Some friends of mine were lucky and they were given two extra glasses of wine to enjoy. )

I recommend that, once you have bought your souvenir wine or you have drunk your tasting glass, you go out onto the terrace to relax and enjoy the view, closing your eyes and listening to the water moving on the Duoro River. You will feel like a fundamental part of Porto's wine industry.

The thing that I would recommend to you the most is that you book a super combo ticket in advance, which includes the tour of Cálem winery, a wine tasting and, finally, a lovely little Fado concert. This experience is both delightful and very exciting. And, so you know, Fado is typical Portuguese music, which is characterised for its melancholic lyrics and quite sad melodies. You will not listen to Fado in this way in any other place; it's like listening to a Mariachi band in Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico or going to a "tablao" in Spain. Without a shadow of a doubt, paying for this is worth it and it will be the cherry on top of your visit to Porto - every penny spent is worth it (or, in this case, every Euro).

Come and relax

Don't hesitate in coming to visit one of the wineries owned by Gaia, it doesn't necessarily have to be Cálem, as there are several others in the city:

  • Garrafeira
  • Kopke
  • Sandeman (this is another of the most popular ones)
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Vasconcellos
  • Ramos Pinto
  • Taylor's
  • Offley
  • Cockburn
  • Graham's

With all of these options ready and waiting for your visit, there is literally no excuse for you not to go to at least one.

Quench your thirst at Cálem Bodega

(Another view of Cálem. This is how you will see it if you arrive here having walked from Luís I Bridge. )

Recommendations

  • Remember that you must get in touch beforehand if you are visiting in a group, so that they can be sufficiently prepared to welcome you all to the wine cellars.
  • The opening hours usually depend on which month it is. From May to October, Cálem is open every day of the week from 10am to 7pm. However, from November to April, the opening hours are slightly shorter - from 10am to 6pm - but the cellars are still open 7 days a week.
  • From the bottom of my heart, I recommend that you buy yourself a bottle of wine before you leave the cellars. They don't call just any wine "Vinho do Porto" for the sake of it. Porto's wine will not taste like that of any other place in the world!
  • The taking of photographs is permitted at any time during the tour.

Photo gallery



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