Wobbling Between Port Wine Houses in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Having wine houses next to large bodies of water is both dangerous and efficient. The Douro River, splicing Porto and Vila Nova De Gaia, has been the country’s wine highway for centuries. The port lodges include familiar faces like Taylor's, Grahams, and Sandeman and sit in front of anchored barrel boats called rabelos. It’s impossible to begin to understand the complexities kneaded into a single drop of the ruby water without letting it wash over you. For the first few glasses, you try to compartmentalize the individual flavors described by tour guides and pamphlets, but so many more wines are calling your palate’s name at the neighboring houses. Suddenly, every gulp starts to taste better than the last and you toss the pamphlets and guides sideways. Stumbling safely home without tasting the Douro has quickly become a challenge.