Wines of Portugal

Portugal Wine mapGeography & Climate

On the south western corner of Europe, neighboring Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, lays one of the oldest European civilizations, Portugal. Blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate, Portugal experiences an amazing 3,000 hours of sunshine per year,Winemaking in Portugal has been around for centuries. Tradition is held in high respect, vintners have kept faith in their native grapes, while embracing modern winemaking techniques. Terroir is so diverse, from mountain to sea level vineyards, from hot and dry or cool and green regions, from sandy to stony soils, the vines strive to flourish, as if the more they suffer, the better their wines.

 

            Major Varietals

                        Red: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franseca, Tinto Cao

                        White: Alvarinho, Verdelho, Malmsey

Major Regions

Vinho Verde (Minho)

Douro & Porto

Bairrada

Dao

Madeira

Wine-making

Rugged and wild, Douro Valley’s vineyards are peculiarly shaped by the River Douro. Along the banks of the river, vines are planted in poor, schistose soils long missing the touch of rain drops. Due to old and narrow stone wall vine terraces, Douro has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, adding even more touristic value to the region. The selection of grape styles planted in this area is vast, and they produce and impressive quantity of port or unfortified wines, or small yields of complex aged wines. Historical vineyards mix grape varieties together whereas in the modern ones, styles are planted separately. Douro is the most reliable source of robust reds in Portugal, customarily made from mixed varieties planted together in old wineries. These wines are a great match during summer for game, meats cooked in stews and fresh goat cheese.

Herdade do Mouchão Vinho Regional Alentejano 2003

Being able to survive for more than two centuries, Madeira’s fortified wines have a high acidity. Planted on steep slopes the vines are rooted in acid, volcanic soils, very rich in organic matter. Highly influenced by the ocean, this mountainous area grows the world renowned Portuguese “noble” varieties: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia and the rarer Terrantez. All the grape varieties grown here are whites, generally sweet or seriously sweet. Most Madeira is drunk to round off a dish with nuts and dried fruits, and is a great partner of Blue Cheese.

 

Thomas Le, CS.

 

 

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Thomas Le

-Certified Sommelier (CMS)

Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM

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