Saturday, October 16, 2021

Portugal is probably better known for its port than its wine. But it produces lots of variety of wine.

Did you know that Portugal is probably one of the richest viticultural countries in the world with 264 different cultivars of wine. There are a great variety of Portuguese wines and the different regions produce some very different characteristics.

One of the first mistakes foreigners make when coming to Portugal is to believe that they will find their favourite french cultivar (cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, etc) on the shelf here, and while you may find these from time to time most of the wines and cultivars are different and indiginous to Portugal.

While wine is produced around the country from small holdings; back yards right up to commeral ventures and co-operatives are very common.  But let us take you on a tour of some of Portugal's more well known wine regions. 

Wine is produced in every geographical region in Portugal, the Wine Regions below are designated for the wine and not the region, and some overlap geographic regions. Wine is of course, produced in the Algarve too, but wine from that area is seldom drunk in other parts of Portugal. winecountry

Vinho Verde Region

This region is in the very North - West of the country, from the Rio Minho, on the Spanish border down to the Duoro and slightly beyond.  Vinho Verde literally translates to 'green wine' thus it is a new wine. It is important when buying a vinho verde wine to buy one that is not older than 1 year. Vinho Verde wines are available in red, rose but mostly white. They are light and fruity with a little fizz and should be drunk chilled.

Douro Region

This region is most famous for its Port wine and it is widely known as the oldest labelled wine region in the world   Wine has been produced here for more than 2000 years.  The region lies along the Douro River and the grapes are planted on the steep slopes.  A boat trip along the river is highly recommended in the summer for its stunning views.  The Port wine and the city of Porto share a rich history. 

The Douro wines are usually dark red and good quality too. 

Dão Wine Region

This region produces the more commercially know wines and it is well known and liked.  Vineyards are found mostly in the Modego and Dão river areas which are mountainous.

Dao reds are dark and fruity.

Alentejo Wine Region

Moving further south the Alentejo region is a popular choice for those who like a more full bodied wine.  The area produces mostly red wines and the hot, dry climate produces a good wine.  Wines have been made here since Roman times and there is still a strong tradition of pressing wines by foot.