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Monday, December 20, 2010

Wines of Portugal International Conference - Part 1 - Visit to Quinta Villar d'Allen

Worrying about my flight being delayed or, even worse, canceled, I decided to fly to Portugal one day before the rest of the “American crew”. Luckily, I arrived to attend the Wines of Portugal International Conference with some time to spare. And what a nice surprise was waiting for me... I was having dinner with my friend Ryan Opaz from Catavino the night I arrived in Oporto and he asked me if I had plans for the following day. He was going to visit the Quinta Villar d’Allen with a small group of people and I was invited to join... I’m so glad I was able to make it. Thanks Ryan!

As Roy Hersh from For The Love of Port described it, “The Quinta de Villar d'Allen is a centuries old 5 hectare property just beyond the brand new Pousada hotel in Porto.  It is a unique and incredible place to visit, the grounds and surrounds with lush gardens, fountains, unusual ancient buildings, amazing walkways and arboretum must be seen to be believed.  Anybody visiting Porto in the future who would like to explore something completely different, I highly recommend a visit to this property that is as beautiful as it is historically linked to the Port trade.”

José Alberto and Tomás Allen have many stories to tell.

“Thomas Allen, born in London in 1664, was the first family member to have contact with Portugal. He married the sister of an important businessman named John Stevenson; and by his hand in 1701, Thomas devoted himself to trade between Portugal and England.
His son George was born in Britain but moved to Portugal at the youthful and vibrant age of 20, continuing the family business. He married in Porto and, since then, the Allen family adopted Portugal as their home country, developing their business related to wine export, as well as their family.”

...and we had a chance to tour their house, gardens and cellars. Not to mention that we had the opportunity to taste an amazing Tawny 20 years that was made by another friend – Oscar Quevedo – at the end of our visit.
(more details on this great wine coming soon...)

These are some of the pictures from that day. I hope you enjoy them.

Cheers,
LA



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