AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 4
Name of wine estate: Quinta do Crasto
Wine region: Douro
Standout points: Pritzker prize-winning infinity pool; majestic UNESCO-recognised Douro Valley location
Winemaker: Jorge Roquette
Wine style: Ports and Douro table wines
First Port of call
Nestled between Régua and Pinhão on the right bank of the Douro River, Quinta do Crasto is a 130ha estate with 75ha of vineyards, an outstanding Port wine range and a wine tourism offer that takes some beating. One of the top-scoring Trip Advisor wine tourism destinations of the past few years, Quinta do Crasto offers a wide range of activities tailored to your requirements. Programmes include guided winery tours with tastings of the estate’s Port and table wines, exquisite lunches or dinners in the stunning dining room setting and boat trips on the Douro River in a partnership with the Pipadouro river tour company.
What’s in a name?
Quinta do Crasto dates back to ancient times – the name ‘Crasto’ is derived from the Latin word ‘castrum’, which means ‘Roman fort’. Located at an altitude of nearly 600 metres, it’s still the perfect spot to view the famous river and the estate’s historic terraced vineyards. The first known references to Quinta do Crasto are from 1615, long before the Douro became the world’s first demarcated wine region in 1756. One of these granite markers, called a ‘Marco Pombalino’, which dates back to 1758, is still visible at the quinta.
In the early 1900s, Quinta do Crasto was purchased by Constantino de Almeida, the founder of the famous Constantino Port house. Following his death in 1923, his son, Fernando de Almeida, continued to run the place, producing stellar Port wines (the 1927 Vintage Port is still stored in the cellar). In 1981, Fernando de Almeida’s daughter, Leonor Roquette, and her husband, Jorge Roquette, took over the estate. With the help of sons Miguel and Tomás and daughter Rita, they began the process of making it one of the great family estates of the Douro region.
Don’t forget your swimsuit
But really it’s all about the infinity pool. And to be fair, it is a rather splendid pool. Perched on top of a hill rising from the Douro River, this pool was designed by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura and won the 2011 Pritzker Prize – the world’s top architecture award. What’s especially marvellous about it is that its acute angle on the river side gives the illusion of being suspended magically over a precipice – perfect for the ultimate Instagram with the majestic valley glowing in the sunlight behind you.
Top travel tips
For the wine traveller, the Douro Valley is among the most rewarding places to visit, not least for its strong links to Porto, to which the region’s Port wines have always been ferried for storage. If you’re travelling to Quinta do Crasto from Porto, the train from Campanha station to Régua or Ferrão is gloriously picturesque in places. The quickest way, however, is undoubtedly by helicopter. That’s right, helicopter. If you can afford it, this 20-30-minute trip landing directly at Quinta do Crasto in time for lunch is an experience you will never forget.