Caves Graham's

A Port at the mother-house
14 / 04 / 2015
Text: Virgínia Capoto
Photography: Carlos Cezanne
Article originally published in ATTITUDE #52 - July/August 2013

There are places which give a contemporary flavour to tradition without speeding up time, where age-old rituals point to the future. This is the case of the port wine cellar – Caves Graham’s – where among granite walls and solid wooden beams, over a beaten earth floor, the cellar’s Port wine ages serenely in oak barrels. To visit this space is to understand the dimensions rooted in the earth of an activity born from the Rio Douro. It also means following a path in which time is suspended in order to nourish the pleasurable side of life, an aspect of the experience which has recently been given even greater importance with the painstaking restoration Project and the inauguration of Vinum – Restaurant & Wine Bar.

 
Standing on a hilltop in Gaia, with the river and the old buildings of Oporto at its feet, this building dating from 1890 offers the ideal conditions for the maturation of Graham’s Port Wines. The preservation of this heritage and its original purpose was the condition placed on the far-reaching yet delicate interventions which improved the experience offered, particularly for visitors.

 
With the signature of the architect Luís Loureiro and Atelier P-06, this project refurbished this part of the cellars open to the public and offered the opportunity to create new areas for enjoyment, enriching a tourist experience, which now includes, for example, a museum. Shopping receipts belonging to Winston Churchill and a Patek Philippe once owned by Queen Maria Pia are some of the relics belonging to the history of Grahams’, which has always been in the hands of the Symington family.
 
This intervention has also given rise to Vinum – Restaurant & Wine Bar. Living and breathing the distinctive atmosphere of the cellars, with barrels playing a central role, not to mention a magnificent view over Gaia and Oporto nestling on the banks of the river, this space brings together the best gastronomy and a discerningly selected wine list. As the fruit of a partnership with the Basque Sagardi family, with a global reputation in the restaurant trade, Vinum offers a gastronomic experience which returns to the traditional cuisine of northern Portugal while absorbing international influences. After all, this is wayfaring nature of any good Port: to descend the terraces of the River Douro, to mature in oak and to go in search of encounters anywhere around the world. Here we encounter it at the mother-house.