The scent of strong spices, seared onions, chillies, olive oil and garlic is intensifying in the bright kitchen area of the Marco Polo. Our gaze wanders out of the big windows, over the beautiful landscape of the Douro valley, through which the Douro river winds like a snake towards Porto, where it eventually flows into the Atlantic. Wine has been grown in Alto Douro in the north-east of Portugal for over two thousand years. In 2001, the region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The climate, the good soil and the many hours of sunshine make the Douro red wines vivid in colour, full-bodied and rich in tannin.