In this region one finds a tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the wine making techniques of the Cistercian monks. We can also stimulate our palate in wine tasting events and tours of the wine estates, many of which were founded by English entrepreneurs that settled here during the 18th Century after discovering the local products.
Since then, Douro wines have gained international renown. They are produced in special climatic and geographic conditions. Red grape varieties include Mourisco Tinto and Tinta Amarela, while white grape varieties like Donzelinho Branco are used. Wines are aged in oak caskets and are known for their rich fruit aromas. The main red grape variety is Touriga Nacional
— it is widely considered to be the region’s most important considered and it is used to create some of the country’s best wines.
This is also where the famous Port Wine
is made — a strong, fortified sweet wine that has been pleasing taste buds all around the world for centuries...
Journey to the southern vineyards
On wide and hot plains south of the Tagus river we find another great Portuguese wine making region. When you land in the nearest airport (Lisbon
), get in touch with a tourism operator that can help you plan a trip through the main farms and wine cellars and enjoy the warm and peaceful landscapes of the Alentejo
Grape plantations and wineries in Alentejo go back to Antiquity
. However, the region was historically plagued by drought, climate issues and poverty until the late 20th Century. Currently, state backing and the development of local producers’ techniques have increased the Alentejo wines’ status and notoriety.
The heat, exposure to the sun and the soil’s dryness lead to the creation of red wines from grape varieties such as Trincadeira
— these are full-bodied wines with wild berry flavours. The white wines, on the other hand (Roupeiro
, Antão Vaz
varieties) are smooth, slightly acidic and possess tropical fruit aromas. Production is concentrated on eight Alentejo DOC sub-regions: Reguengos, Borba, Redondo, Vidigueira, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Portalegre and Moura.
Before the Pyrenees
Towards the Eastern Iberian Peninsula, just before we arrive at the Pyrenee mountain wall, we find the region of La Rioja
, south of Bilbao
wines stand out for their combination of and their oak barrel aging technique, a process that can last several years. Red wines are of medium intensity and palate and are mainly based on Tempranillo
grapes. Rosé (Garnacha grapes) and white wines (Viura) are equally light.