During my last visit to Porto, I had the pleasure of visiting the Cálem winery, definitely, an obligatory visit and I’ll explain why. Very easy to find, one of the largest and best known in Vila Nova de Gaia, also due to the number of tourists it receives each year. My first time with Porto wine and I must say that I fell in love with this wine. Sweet and perfect for aperitifs (especially with cheese) and desserts.
ABOUT PORTO WINE
Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine, fortification is sometimes referred to as brandy which normally means from 19% to 20% alcohol. Produced with distilled grape spirits exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal (120km from Porto). It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, though it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.
Outside Portugal, countries like France, South Africa, and the United States tried to copy it, but they can call it only Porto style because only the product from Portugal may be labeled as Porto. Is it the oldest Protected Designation of Origin It was exactly in 1756 when the Prime Minister created by law the Demarcated Region of the Duero.
ABOUT CÁLEM WINERY
Some general information about Cálem, which I found very interesting.
- It was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem, dedicated only to its origins to wine exports to Brazil through its own fleet of ships.
- These Brazilian activities are still remembered by the logo of a caravel that appears in the Cálem brand.
- The Cálem family took care of the winery up until the 4th generation, now it is part of the Sogevinus group.
- The same company includes Barros, Burmester, Kopke, Velhotes brands shops that you will find in Vila Nova de Gaia.
- It is one of the most-visited wineries, thanks to being one of the most interactive and technological. Also perfect for the little ones.
- Currently, they offer a fado show (typical Portuguese music) during tastings.
- Some of its roots are so ancient that they have been cataloged pre-Phylloxera.
- A bottle was sold to € 11,000 approx per glass.
- 50% of Cálem’s consumption is national.
Currently, there are 3 options to visit the shop, in the future, there will be the option of a Tour + Taste in 5D (I can’t wait to go back when it’s ready).
Interactive museum (15 min) + Two tasting options:
STANDARD 2 great wines: Cálem Fine White and Cálem Special Reserve Tawny (13€ /adult)
PREMIUM 3 wines: Cálem White & Dry, Cálem 10 Years Old Tawny & Cálem Late Bottled Vintage (16€ /adult)
This tour includes: 21€/ adult
Interactive museum (15 min)
Two wines for tasting: – Cálem Fine White – Cálem 10 Years Old Tawny
Fado Show (45 min. Approx.)
Option chocolate lovers: 25€/ adult
Interactive museum (15 min)
Cellar s Guided Tour
Wines: Cálem Colheita / Cálem 10 Years Old Tawny / Cálem White & Dry
Food Pairing: Milk and black chocolate / Black chocolate with raisins / Black chocolate tartlet.
Option chocolate and cheese: 35€ /adult
Cellar´s Guided Tour
Wines: Cálem Late Bottle Vintage / Cálem Vintage / Cálem Colheita
Food Pairing: Transmontano Goat Cheese / Cheese from S. Jorge Island / Chocolate tartelete black and chocolate milk / Crackers and jam.
CÁLEM WINE TASTING
Now let’s start our tour, which in our case was the “Tour and pairings (cheese and chocolate)”. We begin the visit with an interactive museum, where you can guess the various aromas used for Cálem wine. The next room is the Cellar, where you can find 100-year-old barrels and get really interesting information about them.
We arrive at the best part of the tour, tasting the famous Cálem Porto wine, (first time for me). Tastings are made in the room above the cellar, but if you have chosen the fado show option you will find yourself in another room. The tasting of the 3 wines begins with Cálem Colheita from 1998 accompanied by a goat cheese and pumpkin jam. The second, Cálem Vintage, accompanied by a stronger cheese that combines very well. And finally, the Vintage Late Bottle accompanied by black and milk chocolate. Personally, of the 3 tested wines, I loved the 2 first because I love aperitifs and particular cheeses. Just don’t forget to have a nice breakfast before visiting a winery in Porto. 🙂
Finally, I would like to thank João, our guide during the tour. Very prepared and professional without ever being taken for granted. We will definitely come back to see you.