Wine is front and center at the new Porto wine bar, 17.56 Museu & Enoteca, and it comes with an extraordinary view from the wine bar’s terrace. In the ground-floor museum, it’s the story of Portugal’s oldest wine company, Real Companhia Velha (RCV), written in tandem with that of the Douro, the world’s oldest demarcated and regulated wine region. Upstairs, it’s wine in the decanter and in the glass. The setting, a beautifully revamped former warehouse overlooking the Douro River, showcases both story and wine to stunning effect. 17.56 Museu & Enoteca occupies two floors in a building just steps from the Gaia quay, a must-visit location for Porto tourism.
Our ambition: To be a reference in the international circuit of wine connoisseurs
–Pedro Silva Reis, Chairman, Real Companhia Velha
An elegant space and wine menu
When we visited 17.56 Enoteca, we had our choice of indoor or outdoor seating, the latter with a beautiful armchair view across rooftops to the river. Inside, a tastefully decorated space, with vintage shipping registers and crates under soaring ceilings, provides an atmospheric backdrop for drinks or a meal. Simultaneously informal and elegant, open and intimate, this is a place to see and be seen, and to feel part of life along Porto’s Douro.
Several sommelier stations are positioned prominently in the bar space, and Enoteca sommeliers are ready to guide visitors through an extensive wine menu. On offer here: not only RCV and other Portuguese wines but also iconic old-world wines. Port wine is on the menu, too, but is not the focus of the Enoteca. On our first visit, we tried new-to-us wines from Real Companhia Velha—an Alvarinho and a white port to accompany appetizers—before moving on to a dinner menu with several spectacular food-and-wine pairings.
Luscious food to pair with wine
17.56 Enoteca showcases regional produce. Seafood from Portuguese waters, meat from Portuguese farms, and cheeses from Portugal and across Europe feature here. Diners can choose petiscos (Portuguese tapas), sandwiches, or opt for a multi-course meal. The food offerings satisfy lovers of seafood or meat, and there are vegetarian options as well.
On a pre-launch visit to Porto’s luxurious new wine bar, a meal of several courses introduced my husband and me to all three of the Enoteca’s restaurant service options. A Japanese-inspired raw bar piqued our appetites with crunchy-spicy kimchi and other Asian delights, and several appetizer dishes featured locally sourced fish and shellfish. Hearty meats pleased the carnivores in our group. An elegant cheese platter gave us an idea of the range of cheeses on offer.
Museum visit with wine tasting
Both the Douro wine region and Real Companhia Velha were established under royal charter in 1756. The 17.56 museum is organized as a book divided into six chapters, telling the story of the region and the company through objects and documents from key moments in world history. Displays of documents, wines, and other memorabilia mark the creation of the wine region and the company, and chronicle pertinent developments through the centuries down to the present day.
The museum is open seven days per week, and the entrance fee includes a wine tasting.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- Slow food, catering for every level of appetite and for varying dietary needs
- The quiet, elegant atmosphere, just steps from the bustling Gaia quay
- Knowledgeable service, facilitating enjoyment of Europe’s top wines
Travelers looking for an in-depth sampling of port wines, or a port wine cellar tour, won’t find it here. Other port lodges are nearby, and Real Companhia Velha’s cellars—with tour and tastings—are a short distance away.
Be sure to get the whole scoop on this new Porto wine bar for the luxury traveler on Anita’s Feast.
Disclosure: The authors visited the 17.56 Museu & Enoteca as for a pre-launch tour and luncheon as guests of Real Companhia Velha.
IF YOU GO
17.56 Museu & Enoteca
Alameda da Serpa Pinto Street, 44 B (Vila Nova de Gaia)