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Appreciation of great wines deepens with positive memories of visiting the place of origin and soaking up the history and culture, the landscapes and most of all, tasting the food and wines at the source. In a great wine capital like the Napa Valley, with wineries and restaurants lining its straight, flat roads, visiting the region is an easy thing to do. In the historic city of Porto and the Douro Valley, it hasn’t been quite as convenient to get the full experience; after all, the majority of quintas and vineyards are in the rugged Douro Valley which is about a 1-1/2 hour drive from Porto on winding, hairpin turns. Back in Porto, the big shippers aka merchants age their wines in lodges across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia where visitors can taste the wines.
There is one property in the Porto area that can bring together the best of Port and Douro Valley wines, and that is the five-star Yeatman Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia. Sponsored by sixty wine partners throughout Portugal, the Yeatman delivers on all fronts: convenient location, Michelin dining, best wine cellar in Portugal, luxury accommodations and services and vinotherapy. Best of all, the Yeatman can arrange visits and itineraries with the wineries in the Douro Valley and coordinate transport whether by scenic boat cruise, historic train or by car.
Opened in August 2010, the Yeatman is one of only eight Relais & Chateaux properties in Portugal with 82 rooms and suites boasting panoramic views of Porto and the Douro River. In fact, the view from this side of the Douro River is the better view. The location is wonderful – high enough to enjoy peace and quiet, yet just a five-minute walk down the hill to the quayside for al fresco dining, Port tasting and walking along the river. Most of the lodges that are open to the public for tasting are located in this area.
Just a short walk across the Ponte de Dom Luis bridge is the historic center of Porto with its quaint shops, restaurants and historical landmarks. Porto’s many fountains, bridges and neo-Palladian style buildings are a constant reminder that this city was built by the wine trade from the 14th to the 19th centuries through taxes and special assessments, and that it is truly a “city of wine.” To get a sense of Port’s economic contribution to this Great Wine Capital, follow the Urban Wine Route.
While Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia have many cafes and restaurants, one doesn’t have to stray far from the Yeatman to wine and dine well. The restaurant at the Yeatman just received a Michelin star, one of only 12 restaurants in the country that are rated. Chef Ricardo Costa serves up modern Portuguese cuisine in an elegant setting. The Yeatman’s 25,000-bottle wine cellar has the most comprehensive collection of wines from all of Portugal, allowing guests to explore the range of local Port and Douro wines as well as the full-bodied reds from points south to lighter-bodied sparkling from Bairrada and dry whites from Rias Baixas.
The Yeatman is located at Rua do Choupelo (Santa Marinha), 4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto – Portugal
Telephone : (+351) 22 013 3100. For more details, visit their website.