Remember in middle school when you loved that band that no one knew about? And then they blew up and you had to tell all your friends how you knew them before they were cool? That’s the Douro Valley in Portugal right now.Even though it's been making wine for 1,000's of years - thanks to major infrastructure investments in the region and a growing reputation for red and white table wines - it's on the verge of a major breakout.Here's why you should be drinking it now...This ain’t just about your grandma’s port.When you hear "Douro", you may be savvy enough to be thinking about Port wine–and you are spot on, our dear friend. However, did you know that the Douro Valley also produces some of the best table wines in the world? Reds, whites, even roses? These are some of the most interesting and unique wines we’ve tried – ranging from light and refreshing whites to intense, velvety, complex reds.The incredible range of varietals will keep you guessing.There are literally 122 different grape varietals grown in just the Douro Valley. Not 12. 122. And they’re not growing your typical Cabs and Chardonnays. All the varietals are local – from Toriga Nacional and Toriga Franca to the spicy Tinto Rodiz. Most interestingly, all the wines from the Douro are blends. Different grapes bring different qualities to the party, which means you're going to find something unique with each wine you try from here.How many other regions literally dynamited mountains to grow their grapes?Beyond making the region one of the most breathtaking places you can visit in the world, the Douro's terraced vineyards are also part of what makes their wines so interesting. Not only are you dealing with 122 different varietals, but you’ve also got different levels of sun exposure on the North and South banks of the Douro river, a crazy wide range of topography, and varying altitudes. In typical wine regions, the difference in your wines really comes from the winemaker her or himself. Here, winemaking is an art form of a different degree based on the wildly unique terroir.Cheatsheet on what qualities you can expect from different areas of the Douro:South Bank: More elegantNorth Bank: More intenseCloser to the river: More intenseHigher altitude: More refreshingThe highest quality wines typically come from Clima Corgo (upper Corgo)These grapes know a good struggle.When you go through something tough in life, you come out on the other side even stronger and wiser than before because you are a badass human being. The same goes for grapes. The Douro bakes in what locals call "three months of hell." In a fact that was surprising to us, the Douro is a Mediterranean climate. That means lots and lots of heat in the summer. Additionally, the vines sit in and on shale, which holds that heat at a constant temperature, resulting in rich, intense red wines.When phylloxera hit the Douro in the 1800's, it wiped out +90% of production. Yes, 9-0. Winemakers across the Douro planted their vines closer together to try to increase their odds. This actually made it harder on the grapes. Think of when you and your sibling were put in a room together–you guys probably fought a bit. The grapes do, too. This ups the complexity of wines from the Douro and is part of the reason why you get an explosion of flavors with each sip.As required by law, winemakers are not allowed to irrigate the vines. This means all of the water on these vines is natural, even in those three months of hell.You can age the sh*t out of some of this stuff.Getting back into our Ports. The Douro was the first demarcated (i.e. has rules) wine region in the world. Ever. One of the strange rules that is required of all producers is that they keep one third of their production, every single year. In other words, they cannot sell you that wine. This is why you can drink a 100 year old port wine that was born before your grandma. It’s a good wine to be selfish with.Locals call tawny port "selfish port." Wine producers will tell you that once you open a fine tawny port, you should drink it all within a couple of months. Apparently, you can actually keep this stuff for a couple of years. This is because it’s already adapted to oxygen. Tawny ports are aged in small wooden casks that are porous, to age the wine quicker. That oxygen breaks down the fruit flavors (and turns it that brownish tawny color) and brings in notes of nuts, toffee, and caramel, along with upping its aging potential. All this means is you can hide it in a dark, deep corner of your fridge and pop it out every now to enjoy a couple of sips to yourself. Okay, okay, they're also good to share.For those of you who are nicer and like to share, they’ve got you covered, too. Even though the aging potential is killer on a lot of the reds and ports from the Douro, a lot of the wines produced here are meant to be drank young, once bottled. And because this region is still becoming really known internationally (beyond ports), you can also find them for pretty killer price points.So the next time your favorite middle school band comes on the radio, remember the Douro. Head to your local wine shop. And pop uma garrafa open.
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Spring is the most pleasant time of the year. Days start to get longer and warmer, and spending time outside suddenly feels very inviting. The green gets greener, the blue sky turns brighter and flowers blooming everywhere it all seems magical. Well, and it is, at least in Portugal!Did you know that Portugal is the European country with more sun hours? Yes, it is true. And is also under the radar so it is the Europe’s hidden-gem, traditional yet modern and innovative. Its wine tradition is older than its borders and in 1758 was established the first wine-producing region of the world.It´s great to be outdoors during the Spring months. To take a walk along the lavish green Douro's landscape taking your time to relax or to sail the Douro river and breathe for a while. And if you are thinking that the perfect setting would include wine tasting, maybe you would enjoy a Port wine tasting paired with delicious food, Wine Tourism in Portugal is going to make that happen.1 – Sleep in a Barrel This is the perfectly quirky accommodation option for all the wine lovers out there. You may now spend the night in a giant wine barrel, which offers all the comforts granted by modern-day standards. Each of these wine barrels - there are 10 of them - are about 270 square feet (25 square meters) in size and come with a double bed, fully equipped bathroom, and air conditioning. On the outside, there is a deck from where you can enjoy a rolling as-far-as-the-eye-can-see-view of the valley.In addition to the round glass door, there's also a skylight through which the sun shines and you can enjoy the star-filled nights, all the more visible away from the city lights.You can also take a winery tour here, enjoy a wine tasting session paired with cheese and jam, have a picnic in the vineyards, a wine course or - best yet - a cooking class where you will learn traditional techniques while preparing your very own meal. 2 - Picnic in the VineyardsPicnics are a fun thing to do. But when do you have the opportunity to do it right in middle of secular vineyards sightseeing the snake like river Douro in the background?Some wine estates in Portugal are able to provide that unique experience perfect for everyone. Enjoy it with your family, friends or even in a romantic getaway. Go ahead choose your spot in the vineyard and make that the moment when you reveal your feelings to your love ones and then unveil what is inside your basket to celebrate the moment. Everything you are about to taste was carefully selected and the wine will be the perfect pairing. Only the best regional wine and delicacies (or in Portuguese: Petiscos) combined with some charming and distinctive details selected for you will be inside your basket. Immerse yourself in the magnificent scenery and enjoy each flavor and each minute.3 - Cruising 2019 in Portugal Wine cruises can be relaxing, fun, romantic, you set the tone we provide all you need on board for the smoothest sailing either for a short escape of one or two hours or to spend the night on board.The view is stunning and the wine, by the moment you already know how it is, unique and produced in the man made slopes along the Douro river as far as the eyes can see. A truly delight for those who need a moment out of the real world, a moment of indescribable beauty.To set sail in Douro river you will be able to go on board of modern sailing boats or boats with a vintage feel. Also if you are visiting Algarve in the south of Portugal a Yacht cruise will take you along the immense bright blue of the Atlantic ocean and you will be able to spot the secret beaches hidden between the rocks.Wine Tourism in Portugal has cruises that are able to suit your particular taste. Everything for the perfect spring day!4 - Cultural Tours - The Locals ChoicesYes, cultural tours can be exhausting, if the only thing you do is to walk around a town and visit platitudinous churches or museums. But what if this tour takes you only to the most beautiful european historic sites and shows you the true cultural heritage? A cultural richness that adds up some top quality wines and delicious petiscos. Yes, your cultural tour magically turns into a once in a lifetime experience. What about now? A Wine Tour in Porto with a River Cruise and Tour to The Port Wine Cellars, or a Full-day Wine Tour in Alentejo? Maybe you are more into a city feel, and if that is so: Wine and History Tour in Lisbon.5 - Adventure and sustainable toursAs a wine lover you know wine goes with any activity, mostly if you are on your Spring vacations. So, why not to mix it up with some adventure and nature experiences? OK, as long as the only thing you are driving is a Bike or a Kayak! And since spring is also the last chance you have to stay fit before summer, we have some excellent suggestions for you, that goes from an unique Wine and Golf Tour to Health and Wellness stays. In fact you can mix them and do it all during you stay. What about Bicycle Tours and Bird Watching, Kayak and Bike Tours or get the adrenaline running in the 4x4 Wine Tour?Probably many other experiences could be on this top as Portugal have so many incredible experiences waiting for you all year long. So now, it is time for you to see, taste, and feel for yourself. Create your own unforgettable memories of 2019 in Portugal.For more information visit http://www.winetourismportugal.com
Rock Cotton Suits and Sangria this Summer During the coming months ladies will begin to slip into their fist sun dresses and barely-there bikinis. Summer’s growing list of side effects will most definitely include constant head turning and spontaneous heart palpitations for many. However, as women have a myriad of garment choices for the season, what do men employ for summer style? Stay away from the territory of “frat boy” tank tops and cartoonish board shorts and take a play out of Detectives Crockett and Tubbs Miami Vice playbook and invest in functional and stylish cotton/linen suit while you listen to Action Bronson's wine soaked rap lyrics in your Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Take this crafty JCREW Ludlow suit for instance. Fine Italian cotton and a subtle stone color will ensure coolheaded-ness and will keep you from blinding onlookers from the type of ray ban shattering glare a chalk white suit would have (although Jude Law may disagree). This cotton suit takes traditional year long attire and by minor changes in material and color, transforms it into the uniform of the coolest cops ever to take the small screen. [caption id="attachment_3310" align="aligncenter" width="492"] p/c: JCrew[/caption] Additionally, our choices in wine also evolve from textured and layered Malbecs and Cabs to the more playful and devilish sangria. This Spanish (and Portuguese) beverage builds upon a foundation of wine and lets it out of its entitled cage with additions of fruit and brandy. We happened to stumble upon a very unique “fireball” Sangria recipe to courtesy of DELISH magazine below. Check it out and let us know if you have any secret-sauce ingredients for your Sangria on Twitter or Facebook - feel free to include a picture and we may post it up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzE0ok0NRMA
Every wine has a story. Wine can have a longevity in our memories and that same wine can have different meaning, relevance and memories when had by others. The same holds true for other 'things' created with passion and art, be it a song, a movie, a painting, couture clothing or even handbags. A true test of a 'things' impression on culture and society is its ability to transcend time.With the help of CEO & Founder Jennifer Bell of SUGARSGONE we pair 4 time-tested, iconic handbags with wines of similar character. Hermes Birkin Bag The Hermes Birkin has a long, iconic, reputable history inspired by Jane Birkin, an actress from the 60's. It's not only the quality of the leather, but also the reputation behind the brand. It is almost unattainable and only few will ever own a Birkin. Pairs with: any of the four (4) Bordeaux Premier Crus which are, since the 1855 classification system the best you can drink, if you can afford them. Château Latour, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion. To give an idea of price, a '09 Château Haut-Brion will run you about $2,500 retail. Gucci Jackie Bag The Jackie Bag is named after Jackie Kennedy, she wore it throughout the 70's. It is a staple that Gucci carries year after year, not seasonal or trendy, you can take it from day to night. It can be moderately priced or priced very expensive, depending on materials used. Pairs with: A classic California Cabernet from Justin Winery. Justin has a few different versions of their Cabernet starting from their entry level Justin ($29), to their flagship, refined, complex Justin Isosceles ($70). Louis Vuitton Neverfull Louis Vuitton Neverfull is a bag that goes with everything, basic and classic. It is a good entrance into the Louis Vuitton family, as it is not seasonal and a classic style. Pairs with: A crisp entry level 2011 Settecieli Pinot Grigio, crisp, apples and clean to the finish. You can never be too full of this Pinot Grigio ($20). Chloe Marci Bag The Marci bag has only been out for a couple of seasons, but has turned a few heads. It has cultivated a following for the modern, stylish, bohemian girl who is independent thinking and not a follower. Sturdy and practical but enjoyed by the ones who know the brand and style. Pairs with: Something of a head turner from a region known throughout the world for their Ports, Douro,Portugal. Go for the 2012 Quinta do Crasto "Old Vines" Reserva Douro, rich, full yet delicate and complex. ($30) Check out SUGARSGONE new book titled "Every Handbag Has A Story" on Amazon
Music and Wine should be paired. Both can transport you to another time, place or memory. When you think of heavy metal music, wine is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, I invite you to open your mind up to Illusions by Tempting Fate and your palate up to Portugal's Douro Reds Darkest full-bodied red wines. Try Quinta De Ventozelo Reserva Douro, 2009 or Quinta Do Vale Meao Meandro, 2006. You will find the pairing to be surprisingly smooth and both music and wine complementing each other quite well. Wines from the Douro are considered to be among the most elegant reds of Portugal and styled similarly to the elegant wines of Bordeaux. Turn the lights off, grab a glass or three of Douro's Darkest Reds and let the music rock you to your core. #VINOMUSIC Contributing Author: Akbar Jaffer - Technologist/Creative Join Amazon Prime - Listen to Over a Million Songs - Start Free Trial NowTempting Fate, free download!