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Douro Valley - Quinta de la Rosa vs. Quinta do Pego

Douro Valley - Quinta de la Rosa vs. Quinta do Pego

Old Feb 6th, 2020, 05:55 AM
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Thanks, Maribel,
I will check the places you suggest in the Douro Valley. I’ve just gotten too overwhelmed planning this trip! After having to cancel our China trip, I thought this would be easy. Not!
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Old Feb 11th, 2020, 03:16 PM
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xyz99,
On our most recent November trip we actually stayed at the Vintage House, only because we got a fantastic rate starting Nov. 1, a 50% discount off the high season rates, and it was equal to the rate we usually pay at our favorite Quinta do Pego, including a lavish buffet breakfast. In September it would have been more than we were ready to spend. But In November we were very happy with our huge room with tiny balcony looking out to the pier.

Because we had a heavy wine touring schedule, the Vintage House worked well for us on this trip, as it was an easy "in and out" to go up into the hills in both directions, to the north bank and south bank estates. The hotel does give guests a nice brochure listing their 16 recommended estates, their opening hours and their locations, driving distance from Pinhão, etc. We had made all of our appointments months in advance, but the hotel could have organized some last minute visits for us, if we had needed them to do so.

From the hotel we walked to Quinta Bomfim (Symington Family Estates) and Quinta das Carvalhas (Real Companhia Velha). We could have walked over the pedestrian bridge to Quinta de la Rosa but took the car instead. We also took the car for the 5-minute drive out to Quinta da Roêda (Croft).
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Old Feb 11th, 2020, 03:22 PM
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Hi, Maribel,
I just want to let you know I booked Quinta de Marrocos, which I think will work out perfectly for us. I’ve already booked the dinner for the first night there.
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Old Feb 11th, 2020, 03:27 PM
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Good! So glad you were able to find a room there.
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Old Feb 11th, 2020, 04:27 PM
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Hi Maribel,
I liked their easy location, too - this (and the good reviews) convinced us to book there. I know nothing about Port wines, should we go visit some of the better known (even if further away), or just visit the ones close by that we can get to in a few minutes? Do they all have you taste more or less the same types of wines? Or is there some variety? We have a day dedicated to wineries and a boat tour, what do you think? Any recommendation for a winery where we can have a nice lunch?
I am overwhelmed with too many choices....
Thanks.
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Old Feb 11th, 2020, 05:03 PM
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Some of the better known, such as Quinta Nova Nossa Senhora do Carmo, can be challenging to reach via narrow, twisting roads, way, way up in the hills. If you're not a port lover, I would suggest going to those close by within a few minutes.

At Quinta Bomfim you can choose from a number of different tastings or you can go for the tour without a tasting. We chose the DOC wine tasting, as we were headed to Graham's in Porto for a port tasting. Both belong to Symington Family Estates. At Quinta do Tedo, very easy to reach, you can also choose which tasting you prefer.

Some small family-owned wineries will offer only one type of tasting.

If you have just one day dedicated to winery visits plus a boat tour (one hour or two?), I would stick to those close to Pinhão.

Quinta do Tedo is a. very good winery for port novices, as the tour guide gives an excellent explanation of the complicated port wine making process (and difference between ruby, tawny, LBV, etc.), the groups are kept to about 15 persons, the estate is very easy to reach right off the N222 with ample parking, is well signed, and they have a nice restaurant with Tedo river views serving light fare, tapas style for lunch. Tedo is set up for easy wine tourism, perfect for a beginner and is not time consuming.

Quinta do Bomfim offers picnic baskets to take up to their view point, if that's more your style.

Quinta do Pôpa offers 4-5 different tastings and also offers lunch or a picnic.

There are magnificent, truly stunning estates, like Quinta do Crasto, with jaw dropping views, that offer a sumptuous set lunch prepared by the family's personal chef, with unlimited (almost!) award-winning DOC wines in their formal dining rooms, and can be a highly memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but this takes a great deal of time. And Quinta do Crasto is a 40-minute drive from Pinhão via a treacherous (read yikes!) road with no guard rails, so it's best accessed by train or by boat, and they'll come get you at the dock. But again, this will eat up much more of your touring time.

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 11th, 2020 at 05:32 PM.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 06:24 AM
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Hi Maribel,
That's a lot of wonderful information, thank you so much for taking the time to put it together. Obviously we won't be able to visit them all, but I'm happy now to research the ones you mentioned. We're thinking of a short boat ride, no decision yet, but no longer than 1-2 hrs.
Thanks for all the lunch options. Decisions....decisions
We're having 2 nights in the Douro Valley, but the 1st day we'll drive there from Coimbra, and just plan to stay local around Pinhao (the train station, Casal del Loivos, maybe a close-by winery), then the next full day for more wineries and the boat ride. The following day we'll drive to Guimaraes with a stop to the St. Leonardo de Galafuro viewpoint. How does this sound?
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 01:41 PM
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For the boat ride you have several options now, right from the dock in front of the Vintage House:

1) a traditional, colorful flat bottomed rabelo boat, accommodating a couple of dozen passengers with wooden bench seating, either a 1 hour cruise or a 2-hour cruise with either the Magnifico Douro or Companhia Turística do Douro. The M.D. one-hour cruise, going only to Romaneira and back has hourly departures from 11 am-5 pm with the last boat departing at 4 pm from November until March. Cost: €11/p. The M.D. two-hour cruises going to Tua and back depart only twice daily, at 10:45 am and 2:25 pm. Cost: €22/p. Seating is on wooden benches, audio guides are provided in several languages, and during the one or two hour cruises a glass of port wine is served. These boats operate when it rains since the seating area is enclosed. These tour boats are used by bus tour companies and by small group wine tours from Porto.

The C.T.do D. offers both the one and two-hour cruises year round. The one hour cruises depart at 10:30, 11:30 12:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 (cost: €10/p), while their two hour cruises depart only at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm (cost: €20/p). A glass of port is served during the journey. Narration is given in English but not particularly informative. These boats also operate in the rain.
http://magnificodouro.pt/en/
https://ctdouro.com/en/.

2) Anima Durius operates the Stella Maris sailboat and the 6-passenger Baco speedboat from the pier. Several different cruise options are possible: a two-hour or four-hour cruise, sunset cruise, all day cruise with lunch or a cruise plus visit to the small, family-run and prestigious Quinta das Poças with a light meal. These boats can also be chartered for a private cruise. And Paulo, the owner, receives stellar reviews for his services and can adapt them to fit guests particular needs.
www.animadurius.pt.

3) the luxury option: The Pipadouro runs two beautifully restored 1950s wooden schooners. The larger, the Pipadouro II, was an admiral’s boat, can be booked for a sunset cruise, a full day cruise with lunch on board or even night’s stay aboard, while the smaller vessel, the Friendship I is used for shorter journeys, such as the regular two-hour cruise that we took. But the regular cruise isn't available every day because these boats are often chartered or used by the really big spenders who stay at the Six Senses Spa Hotel.
https://pipadouro.pt.

Your first afternoon after arriving from Coimbra:
a nearby winery (Quinta Bomfim must be reserved online but they do have a tour at 4 pm and perhaps in September until 6 pm).
The drive to the Casal de Loivos, compared to other drives to stunning viewpoints, is an easy one from Pinhão. It took us 10 minutes. We parked just outside the village as the streets there are very narrow and just walked to the viewpoint. After photographing you might want to stop at the little olive oil museum, D'Origem, in the village.

If you don't want to dine that evening on the outdoor terrace of the Vintage House Rabelo restaurant (very romantic), "O-Por-Co" is is a cute wine bar and small plates place serving hams, sausages and cheeses and sandwiches, that has opened on the main drag of Pinhão by Jorge Barefoot Guides.
Also we've had solid meals at Vela Douro just one block behind the pier, behind the LBV 79 restaurant. They specialize in grilled beef, but they do have fish dishes and a terrific caprese salad and have an outdoor terrace.
And we had a great. gourmet lunch at Cozinha da Clara in the Quinta de la Rosa, but it's more expensive, certainly by local standards, with prices in line with the Rabelo restaurant. My arroz caldoso con mariscos ("soupy" rice with shellfish) presented in a Staub type pot was terrific, and my husband enjoyed his roast baby goat. We really like the Quinta de la Rosa table wines, and they're well priced.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 02:44 PM
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Great information, Maribel! This is so helpful! And xyz, thanks for asking! With all the itinerary planning, I haven’t even begun to think about the actual trip!
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 04:09 PM
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progol,
Glad you found the info helpful!

xyz99,
About the departure day:
Yes, you can drive from Pinhão to Régua and from Régua take the 19-km. detour northeast to the Miradouro de São Leonardo de Galafura, the highest point in the valley, actually I believe it's the highest viewpoint in the country. If you go via the N313-2 to the N313-1, the drive should take about 30 minutes. At the Miradouro, beyond the restaurant São Leonardo on the highway, there's a small chapel (locked), parking, a few stone picnic tables and truly spectacular views.
Then north up to Vila Real and west on to Guimarães.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 04:27 PM
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We went to Quinta do Tedo and they did a great tasting. Be sure to stop at Quinta do Popa as they have an amazing view! We stayed at Quinta Nova and it was fantastic with a spectacular view. It did have a very hair raising drive to get there. Once we got there we had lunch and dinner as we didn’t want to drive back out! We loved the Douro and can’t wait to go back.

Quinta do Popa
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 05:25 PM
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Bookmarking. Thanks, Maribel. We will benefit from this great information, as well.
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Old Feb 12th, 2020, 07:46 PM
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ms_go,
I remember that you'll be staying at the Quinta do Vallado in Régua, so if you have a free meal outside of the Quinta (we LOVE their wines and olive oils), you might want to consider this charming spot that I recommended to maitaitomi on another thread.

In the Douro we can highly recommend a meal at the charming, cozy Tasca da Quintain downtown Régua, on a pedestrian street right behind the Douro Museum, owned by the folks of the winery Quinta de Tourais. It's tiny (6 or 7 tables, seating about 25 diners), so one must reserve. It's comfort food at its finest in a whimsical, vintage setting (mismatched furniture, vintage radios, accordions on the wall).
You pick your wine from a large, old fashioned cabinet rather than from a formal wine list, and the owner, Guilherme, couldn't be nicer or more helpful. He takes a great deal of time with his guests to explain the menu actually hand written in a little notebook.

Incredibly delicious, updated trad cuisine prepared in a tiny open kitchen (pork shank and the homemade desserts, like the apple tart, are outstanding). It was a new one for us, as we usually have lunch at Castas e Pratos in a stylishly reconverted former rail warehouse, but we lucked out because it was a Saturday. During the week it only opens for dinner. We reserved 2 days ahead in Nov.
Because we complimented Guilherme on his uncle's wines (Fernando Coelho, the winemaker at Quinta do Tourais), he arranged for his uncle to meet us and give us a complimentary quick tour of the ancient stone lagares and a tasting in the shop after lunch (5-min. drive across the river in Cambres, next to Quinta da Pacheca). His small production red Miura, is outstanding.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 04:33 PM
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Oh Maribel, this is such a wealth of good info, thank you!
I did not know that Vintage House has a restaurant, that changes things. We're saving one dinner for DOC (it gets great reviews), but were not sure about the 2nd one. Quinta de la Rosa was an option, but dinner so close to home is always nice.
And I really need to try O-Por-Co, I've never met a cured meat or sausage that I did not like

Too bad they don't have more bridges to make crossing from one side to the other of the river easier. Is there one side better for views? What about wineries?
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 05:15 PM
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Yes, the Vintage House has the Rabelo restaurant whose wisteria covered terrace should be open in September. We didn't dine there this time because it was too cool at night to sit outside, but we've dined there on other trips.
I should have mentioned that Cozinha da Clara at the Quinta de la Rosa also has an outdoor terrace, which we couldn't use in Nov. due to the rain.

I LOVED our lunch at DOC!

Since you love cured meats, there's also the charcuterie QUALIFIER in town. Actually there are 2 of them on the main drag, the first on the right is closest to the Vintage House. He sells very good cured meats.

I've found the views equally stunning from the wineries on both sides, north and south banks. And the higher you climb, the more jaw dropping the views!
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 05:35 PM
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Thanks so much, Maribel. We are spending two nights at Quinta do Vallado, so we will probably plan one dinner there and one out. Ironically, last night I was on Google Maps looking at places in Régua, and I bookmarked Tasca da Quinta. We will make sure to get a reservation. We will be in that area in early April - in between three nights in Braga and three nights in Porto.
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 05:48 PM
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Hi ms_go,
I actually remembered that you're staying at Quinta do Vallado! We love, love their wines and on our recent trip stopped again to purchase wines and their excellent olive oil in their newly expanded shop. We sent friends there last May.

Be sure to try the ultra charming Tasca da Quinta as it's the finest in Portuguese comfort food and serves great wines. But be sure to book in advance because it's tiny, or have the Quinta book for you.

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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 11:32 AM
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We might actually get to settle this mini debate next autumn, although I'm sure we will love them both. Because Guimarães did not have a hotel I wanted for the two nights we had available, I added a night to Coimbra and a night to the Douro Valley. Because of availability of the following two lodgings, I have two nights reserved at Quinta de la Rosa followed by two nights at Quinta do Pego (couldn't miss that death-defying drive up). I only wanted to spend three nights in this area, but this way we can cool our jets before our last four nights in Porto. I figure we'll find enough to do, and who knows, all my traveling companions might have time to relax and read while I check up on football scores back in the U.S. Third times a charm!!! Now all I have to do is stay alive for another year.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 05:27 AM
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Well. We only have three nights in the area in the Spring and we decided on Quinta de la Rosa.
So we will not get to compare this trip.

I am thinking of Quinta das Lagrimas in Coimbra for a night between Porto and Lisbon. We plan to ditch the car in Porto and take the train to Lisbon and Coimbra would be an easy stop if we decide not to tack an extra day on to Lisbon.

So many choices and so little time. I wanted to fly into Porto and return from Lisbon but airfare being what it is and of course the schedules we will do LIS-LIS on this trip.

I received a communication from the Quinta. It almost sounded like a warning. In part it said that they are not really a hotel only a working Quinta. Do not expect a reception or luggage service. We are used to staying in apartments a lot on our travels and had not given those things a second thought. I did read a review where one guest complained about those things. Maybe they feel it necessary to alert guests before they arrive.

Believe me, lack of those items does not deter us in the least!!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 08:25 AM
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Hi Sher, We received the same email. Agree with you. As my dad used say, "Roll with the flow." Really looking forward to this trip that has been postponed twice. Have a great trip and will be interested in your trip report afterward.
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