Ours is a wine country, with nectars to satisfy everyone. Besides the well known Port, there is a lot to taste: amazing reds, refreshing whites, crisp sparkling and even a “green wine”, wich is not actually green. Let’s discover the 14 Portugal Wine regions.
A wine that is “Green” does not exist. Nevertheless, there is a region in northwest Portugal called “Vinho Verde”, or “Green Wine”. By the way, it’s the biggest DOC in the country, streching from the border with Spain into the Atlantic Ocean and full of greenery, thus the name “Green”. The Alvarinho variety l is the “king” of these crisp and fresh nectars that go very well with fish, seafood and mild cheeses.
When it comes to Portugal wine regions, Trás-os-Montes, close to the Douro Valley, is fairly unknown. So, it can be amazing to discover the wines that are created when you mix extreme chenges in temperatures throughout the year, high altitude and soils with a lot of granit and a pinch of schist. The rich culinary tradition of the area, with fenomenal charcuterie, is the best match.
Porto and Douro
Since the XVII century, Port has been the most famous wine to come out of the Douro Valley. But, it is time to start drinking the rich, bold unfortified wines of this region. Better still: go on a cruise of Porto and Douro and enjoy a glass or two while seeing the UNESCO World Heritage landscape.
Even for the Portuguese, the Távora-Varosa wine region can be a big and wonderful surprise. The Douro Valley is its north border and the Dão is on the south. It was the first region in Portugal to be demarcated for sparkling wines, in 1989. The tradition goes all the way back to the Cistercian monks, about 900 years ago. Props to them!
Home to some of the most ‘diva’ grapes, the Bairrada streches between the Dão and the Atlantic. The climate is mild but with plenty of rain and a strong maritime influence. From all Portugal wine regions, this is the best to try the Baga red variety. This is a rare and darker jewel to be kept for years. That, if you are able to resist tempation.
Dão and Lafões
Robust flavors, with lots of character is the best definition of the wines of this region. Tucked away in the mountains, with pine forests as the main natural landscape, the Dão and Lafões area is protected from the most extreme continental and maritime influences. The result? Absolute elegance.
Portugal is not a very big country, but the landscape can change a lot. Beira Interior, close to the border with Spain, is the region defined by mountain ranges and continental climate. Extremely hot and dry in the summer and with cold winters. For wine production it can be a challenge, but the results are amazing. At the same time rich, with a touch of honey and a great balance of acidity.
Can the capital of the country present amazing nectars? Absolutely! The Lisboa wine region has vineyards as close as 30km (18 miles) from the hectic city center. Besides that, the west and north areas of Lisbon present a big variety of options. From the fresh and dry whites to the sparkling and fortified wines.
The Tejo wine region is a short distance from Lisbon, but what a difference! The flat landscape is considered by many the most fertile area in Portugal. Rich in olive groves, cork forests, fruit orchards and, of course, vineyrads. Besides their quality, the wines produced in the region have solid value for money features and are a must for fruity lovers.
Península de Setúbal
Portugal wine regions are a symbol of diversity and Península de Setúbal is no exception. If you are in Lisbon, you just need to cross one of the two Tagus river bridges to step in and start tasting wines that are produced mainly in clay or limestone terroirs. The “crown jewel” of Setúbal is the Moscatel, an amazing sweet, fragant nectar unique in the country.
People say that when it’s hot by the coastline, Alentejo is burnig. This is the region where, in the Summer, Portugal reaches its higher temperatures, easily about 40ºC (104ºF) and the wines reflect that: full bodied reds and aromatic, fruity whites. All of them exuberant and smooth.
The main tourist hotspot in Portugal is also home for some of the best wines. With more than 3000 hours of sunshine every year, the Algarve is protect from the Alentejo heat by its mountains and the winds from the Atlantic. This southernmost region also presents a Mediterranean influence and the mix translates into ripe, warm and fruity choices, always with a bit of freshness.
The Madeira fortified wine is a delight and has been a “must drink” all over the World for over three centuries. The Founding Fathers of the US toasted with Madeira to the new country they were creating. Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia (sometimes called Malmsey), Tinta Negra and Terrante are the main varieties used to create Dry, Medium-Dry, Medium-Sweet and Sweet options.
In the middle of the Atlantic, three of the nine Açores, or Azores, are home to some of the most unique wines in Portugal. Protected from the strong ocean winds by stone walls. the vineyards burst with varieties such as Verdelho, Arinto, Terrantez, Fernão Pires and Malvasia Fina. The nectars are so aromatic that are called “Vinho de Cheiro” or “Fragant Wine”.
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