The Most Popular Portuguese Wines
Portugal has embraced the art of winemaking for centuries, weaving the intricacies of this delicate process into their culture with incredibly characteristic (and indigenous) varietals.
The diverse climate of the country creates an environment that can grow some of the most robust and rare grapes. Their absolute refusal to incorporate any international varieties into their winemaking process is a move that has definitely worked out in their favor.
This province spans from the south (Tagus) to Algarve in the east where it borders Spain. This is where up to seven completely diverse sub-regions that cater to wine production can be found. The flowing hills open up into valleys that also produce wheat, olives, and even cork oaks.
This is perhaps the most remote wine region of the country, tucked far away in the northeastern mountain ranges. The region’s soil might be rich, but the climate is quite harsh. There’s not much rain in the summers and the winters are dreadfully chilly. Trás-os-Montes produces reds that are lighter and richer in aroma than its neighboring Douro.
Douro is not only one of the most stunning wine regions in Portugal, but also in the world. This is where some of the country’s most prestigious wines are produced. It offers an enormous variety of full-flavored reds and fresh, crisp whites. Winemakers in the region share a passion for showcasing wines that are rich in flavor and tannin.
The rich clay soil that rises from the ground lies between the mountains and the coast belongs to Bairrada. This is a spot mostly known for its red wines that are produced with a single grape variety known was Baga. Younger wines are considered quite tough because the grape is high in acidity, but they mature very well. The end result is the most intoxicating aroma and a silky finish.
The gorgeous coastline of Lisbon is as inviting as its wine is. The Atlantic breeze soothes the vineyards and balances the acidity and aromatic compounds that are found in their white wines. Lisboa is the region where Portugal produces most of its vino. It welcomes a staggering amount of tourists to its ever-expanding collection of wineries.
As the altitude spikes just south of Douro, you’ll find the Beira Interior. This region’s contrasting lands accommodate vineyards on their granite soils. To the north, the grapes take on a similar personality to those in Douro. However, toward the South, you’ll find a rather interesting mix of varieties.
Along the banks of the River Tagus, lies Tejo. This area produces some of the most delectable wines that are perfect for every occasion. Tejo grows a strong portfolio of varietals that helps the region produce character-rich wines.
Just a stone’s throw from Spain’s Galicia, you’ll find the leafy northwestern region of Portugal known as Vinho Verde. In the north, the region produces a magnificent Alvarinho varietal. To the south, Loureiro is the most prominent grape. The wines are traditional in every sense and also happen to be inexpensive.
Famous Red Wines
- Aragones/aragonês - Known as Tinta Roriz. This is very similar to Spain’s Tempranillo. This grape enjoys a great reputation as Doura’s crown jewel. It’s rich, aromatic, and rich in tannin
- Alfrocheiro - Not a very common varietal, but has definitely caught the attention of wine connoisseurs with its striking balance
- Baga - A late-ripening grape that packs a lean tannic punch. With careful experimentation, this red has evolved into a dense, bright, and flavorful wine
- Touriga Nacional - This is the spine that holds Portugal’s Ports together. It’s also used for reds, thanks to its piquant aroma and sweetness
Famous White Wines
- Alvarinho - Minho’s pride and joy. It’s a delectably crisp and aromatic wine laced with notes of peach and citrus fruits
- Arinto - Northern Portugal showcases its Arinto as a dry, tangy white wine that tingles with traces of citrus fruit
- Fernão Pires - In Barraida, this unbelievably versatile grape makes aromatic and crisp wines with the most captivating floral notes
- Loureiro - Possibly the most fragrant of all white wine grapes, this varietal stands out in the vineyards of Vinho Verde
Portugal is a scenic wine destination that welcomes you with about 250 indigenous varieties produced with unique finesse. With so many wines to choose from, you might want to plan a journey that’s longer than ten days. Even then, you might not have enough time to experience the beauty of every single variety that Portugal so proudly produces.