Wine in Portugal

We’ve all walked into our local wine shop and been blown away by the choice. The deep ruby sheens or golden nectar hues are brought to us from all corners of the globe. However, it’s rare that you’ll walk out of that store with a bottle of Portuguese wine.

Pick a Portuguese wine

While it’s unlikely there’ll be a section dedicated to that Western European strip so many of us love to visit, Portugal has actually got a wine-making history dating back centuries.

In fact, the Douro Valley was the first wine-producing region in the world when the Marquis of Pombal set it up in 1758 and now here and the Pico Island Wine Region are so important they’ve been protected by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should get over to Portugal to have a taste of their delicious and unique contributions to the world of wine.

Vinho Verde

The soft, fruity whites of Portugal – also known as Vinho Verde, are a must. Expect low ABV – or alcohol – citrus flavours and maybe even a touch of peach on your palate here and there.

Vinho Verde is a coastal region in the northwest of Portugal. The word verde can mean green but also figuratively mean young. Therefore, the name reflects the youthfulness of the wine itself, which should be drank right away rather than left to age.

Douro Valley

The region which lines the Douro River is so important to the history of wine-making that it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s because back in 1758 it was set-up as the first ever wine-producing region.

You’ll find the same red grapes that go into port are used in this region to produce Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, and Tinta Roriz wines – all fine choices for lovers of Rioja. If you’re looking for that deep red, choose bottles from wine-makers like Niepoort and Quinta do Crasto for the top quality stuff.

Dao

In the northern region of central Portugal, mountains protect the grapes vines from maritime and continental influences. Therefore, Dao wines enjoy what’s known as a goldilocks climate, not too hot, and not too breezy either.

Compared to Burgundy wine from France, the full bodied cherry-scented wines from Dao are perfectly summed up by one of the finest producers of this wine – Quinta do Roques. Give it a try, and look for those tell-tale tastes of Earl Gray tea and cocoa.

Lisboa

Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, is close to a very small region known as Colares. Right next to the Atlantic Ocean, Colares enjoys protection from the harsh sea winds by mountainous sand dunes.

Even so, wines that survive these intense conditions are acidic and high in tannins. This means these wines age very well, so bringing a bottle back from Colares would be a good investment.

Alentejo

Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon lovers will adore the wines from Alentejo, a huge region with acres of cork trees.

Despite its massive size, the area only has about 5% vine coverage and so the wines are considered rare and artisan. Adding to the hand-crafted appeal, some wines are still produced in vast clay vessels as they were in Roman times.

The beautifully sunny region of Alentejo enjoys a hot climate and so the grapes produce higher alcohol content and fuller bodied wine.

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