Portugal is one of the countries with a well-developed wine production. The mere mention of Porto is enough to arouse the confidence of lovers of refined wine taste.
The Portuguese owe their winemaking to the ancient Phoenicians, who brought the vine to their territory. For more than 2, 000 years, wines have been made in Portugal that cannot be found anywhere else.
In recent decades, wine production in Portugal has undergone a real revolution. This applies to the technologies, styles and attitudes to wine production, but also to the use of endemic grape varieties.
Of greatest interest is the Douro Valley, characterized by the wealth of ripe red table wines of the Touriga Nacional variety.
The production of such wines varies between 600 and 670 million liters per year, which places the country in 11th place in the world.
Vine varieties and regions in Portugal
Because winemaking in Portugal is a fairly isolated business, many grape varieties do not grow anywhere else in the world.
There are over 250 local varieties and several imported ones that have adapted well to the Portuguese climate. For many wine experts, Portugal is the final frontier for wine produced in Western Europe.
The presence of many grape varieties in Portugal and their regional synonyms make it difficult for experts. Some are endemic to Portugal, while others overlap with neighboring Spain, but have local names. In general, about 250 varieties are considered local, endemic to Portugal.
There are significant differences between the mountainous regions of the country, the river and coastal plains and the limestone-rich coastal hills and this also determines the richness of grape varieties.
The most famous regions are the Douro Valley, Altenejo, Vinho Verde and the islands Madeira.
The most famous Portuguese wine grape variety is red and is called Turiga Nacional. It is used to make the wines of the Douro Valley, as well as the strong wines of Porto. More and more producers are turning to local varieties such as Baga, Rabigato and others.
The white local varieties are less known and not so common, Alvarinho, Verdello and Loreiro predominate.
The fine Portuguese wine
When talking about the wine of Portugal, it is always, first of all, the wines of Porto and Madeira. For dry wine lovers, the Douro Valley is where quality red wines are produced, with Touriga Nacional as the dominant variety.
Local varieties are usually listed on the labels. They have excellent qualities with which they attract attention, caressing the palate with their incredible taste qualities.
Not only the reds, but also the white wines have a wide range, from the fresh and relatively floral and elegant of Vinho Verde, to the dense with a long aftertaste and a lingering sense of delight. And of course, Port wine, from carefully selected producers.
See also what dessert wines are.