Portugal holds an excellent winemaking tradition with its indigenous grape varieties, wonderful climate, and geographic landscape.
So, it’s not surprising to spot fantastic wine deals in the country. In this article write-up, we’ll explore the growing regions of Portugal so you can wind up your wine-drinking adventures!
Portugal’s Major Wine Regions
|Wine Region||Major Wines|
· Branco Alentejo
· Tinto Alentejo
|Bairrada||· Branco Bairrada
· Sparkling “Brut” Bairrada
· Tinto Bairrada
|Beira Interior||· Branco Beira
· Tinto Beira
|Dao||· Dão Alfrocheiro
· Dão Jaen
· Dão Touriga Nacional
|Douro||· Tinto Douro
· Douro Branco
· Port Wines
· Torres Vedras
|Tejo||· White “Indi” Blends
· Red “Indi” Blends
|Vinho Verde||· Branco Vinho Verde
· Rosado Vinho Verde
For connoisseurs, Portugal is the final frontier of wine in the Western side of Europe. There are still so many wines to be tasted and explored. With all the fascination that Portugal offers, let’s take a tour of the different regions and notable wines chronologically!
The Alentejo province extends for over a third of Continental Portugal. One would find its vineyard area divided into seven different sub-regions. Alentejo is home to vines, cork oaks, olives, sheep, and wheat.
Although the province has a challenging climate with intense hot temperatures, droughts, and tons of sun, Alentejo is a dynamic region hailed as Portugal’s New World.
On top of everything, Alentejo is a powerhouse of modern and progressive wineries producing red wines with refined tannins and mocha flavor. This province’s white wines go from medium-bodied refreshing drinks to full-bodied wines like the Chardonnay.
Alentejo region’s popular wine varieties are the following:
- Alentejano: These are full-bodied white and red wines like the Syrah and Viognier.
- Branco Alentejo: A light to full-bodied white blend made from grape varieties like Arinto, Antão Vaz, Fernão Pires, and Roupeiro.
- Tinto Alentejo: This type of wine is a full-bodied red blend made of Aragonês, Alfrocheiro, and Castelão.
You’ll find the Bairrada region at crossroads between the coast on fertile clay soils and the lush mountains. Recognized for its vast red wine production, Bairrada is the only wine area in Portugal dominated by the Baga grape variety.
Since this type is high in tannic content and acidity, it would not be surprising to taste intense wines. But in these modern times, wine crafters mix Baga with other grapes to make lighter and taste-friendly wines.
From the light-bodied red wines that remind us of the famous Pinot Noir to the delightful pink sparkling wines, Bairrada is now known as one of the prime movers of Portuguese winemaking.
Here are the popular types of wine you’ll come across in the area:
- Branco Bairrada: This wine is made from the Arinto, Bical, and Fernão Pires.
- Sparkling “Brut” Bairrada: Brut is a sparkling wine with flavorful beeswax undertones made of Baga, Fernão Pires, and other grapes.
- Tinto Bairrada: Primarily made from Baga, these wines range from tar-like and dense to soft with the ability to age and refine tannins.
Holding the reputation of being the most mountainous region in the country, Beira Interior has one of the most challenging climates to produce grapes. What makes it even more difficult is it’s always snowing in the area.
With its very short growing season, one would mostly find wines with red-fruit flavors, juicy finish, and smoky notes. On the other hand, white blends feel chalky with lots of minerality.
Beira Interior’s famous wines include:
- Branco Beira: These are chalky and lean wines of Arinto, Malvasia, and Síria.
- Tinto Beira: You’ll spot these red fruit-driven wines of Alfrocheiro, Bastardo, Murufo, Trincadeira, and Touriga Nacional.
Found across the south of the Douro, protected by pine forests and high mountains, the Dao Region produces one of the best Portugal’s red blends. For the last twenty years, there’s been a sweeping change in the wines of this area.
Today, Dao holds a bunch of small, dynamic producers making enjoyable and approachable wines with sophistication. If you love red blends, here are the Dao wines to look out for:
- Dão Alfrocheiro: This wine is medium-bodied with a hint of red berry, spice, and licorice undertones.
- Dão Jaen: With a mouth-drying tannin and moderately high acidity, this full-bodied red blend carried black cherry and raspberry flavors.
- Dão Touriga Nacional: Featuring a medium acidity level with refined tannins, this wine is also a full-bodied one with a mocha, chocolate, and black fruit taste.
Portugal’s best-known, Douro, belongs to one of the most fantastic global wine regions. Nowadays, Douro has risen as the country’s premium wine area. This place is fascinating because the entire area is praised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Tinto Douro: One of the famous Douro Reds, Tinto Douro is a full-bodied red wine you’ll love.
- Douro Branco: This wine is light-bodied, showcasing subtle flinty notes, crisp, and a minimal fruity taste with high acidity.
- Port Wines: These wines are sweet and fortified, like Vintage Port and Tawny Port.
Lisboa is well-known in Portugal and is recognized as the country’s largest wine-producing region. Nowadays, numerous wines from the different areas in Lisboa, such as Bucelas and Alenque, are already making their name internationally.
What made it more impressive is that while there are tons of premium quality wines in Lisboa, it’s easy to find affordable and perfect for casual, everyday drinking.
Curious about their premium wines? Here are some of the best wines you’ll spot in the area.
- Alenquer: Made from Alfrocheiro, Aragones, Castelao, and Touriga Nacional, Alenquer are concentrated wines with high tannin levels.
- Arruda: These drinks are full-bodied red wines made of grape varieties such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Bucelas: An age-worthy wine produced with Arinto, Bucelas is light-bodied with citrus undertones.
- Colares: This wine is a gem with a golden color shade made with Malvasia Fina.
- Torres Vedras: This wine is a simple, refreshing white blend with low alcohol content.
Tejo is a region well-recognized for crafting excellent, everyday drinking wines in unique styles from different grape varieties.
One of the fantastic things to look forward to in this region is most of their wines are affordable. The wines keep improving as you travel to the Tejo region’s center. Indeed, Tejo is a region where you can catch great wine deals in Portugal.
Want recommendations? Here are wines you must not miss in Tejo!
- White “Indi” Blends: This aromatic white wine is made from Arinto, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
- Red “Indi” Blends: Made from distinct grape varieties such as Syrah, Touriga, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Touriga Nacional, this red wine is worth trying!
Finally, if you come across an ice-cold wine, I bet it’s nothing but Vinho Verde. One would best serve this wine on its aromatic peak and crisp acidity.
The wines you’ll spot in this region are perfect to match with vegetable dishes, fish, and seasonal salads. They would bring magic when paired with citrus-driven sauces.
If you happen to swing by Vinho Verde, here are the wines to sip and savor!
- Branco Vinho Verde: This light-bodied white blend features a slight spritz with fruity notes of lemonade, gooseberry, melon, and a chalky texture.
- Rosado Vinho Verde: Otherwise known as Rose, the Rosado Vinho Verde showcases a red berry taste with thirst-quenching acidity like lemonade.
Portugal Wine Level of Quality
Now that we’re done talking about different regions in Portugal and their featured wines let’s head on to the quality levels of Portuguese wines. There are only levels of wine quality used in the country. You can spot them by checking the wine labels.
If you spot the acronym DOC or Denominação de Origem Controlada on the wine label, that only means that the bottle you’re holding comes out of a strictly defined geographical area with maximum vine yields and recommended permitted grape types.
Portugal is divided into fourteen wine regions which follow lenient guidelines for the grape varieties used as maximum wine yields. While bottles with this label imply that the wine is not of premium quality, many sommeliers utilize the Vinho Regional designation to craft excellent wines.
Vinho is the most straightforward classification of Portuguese wine. Experts say that you won’t find these wines outside the country.
Finest Wines of Portugal
Indeed, Portugal holds unique styles of wine blends. What to pick and drink might be overwhelming for the first time. Here is the list of must-try wine bottles to help you find the country’s best-recognized bottles!
|Wine||Category||Price per Bottle|
|The Society’s Port||Port Wine||£10.95|
|Rede Colheita, Douro 2019||Red Wine||£7.95|
|Hortas do Caseirinho White Frisante||Sparkling Wine||£7.50|
|Natural Mystic, Vinho Verde 2021||White Wine||£8.75|
|Niepoort Dry White Port||Port Wine||£17.00|
|The Society’s Portuguese Red||Red Wine||£6.25|
|Vadio Bairrada 2018||Red Wine||£13.95|
|Old Vines in Young Hands Tinto 2019||Red Wine||£6.50|
|Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2016||Port Wine||£13.95|
|Esporao Monte Velho Branco Alentejano 2021||White Wine||£8.95|
Explore more about Portuguese wines by watching this YouTube video.
Like its neighboring country, Spain, Portugal is a growing powerhouse of wines. With its diverse wine regions and famous grape varieties, the country is an excellent place for wine lovers!
So, with this comprehensive guide to Portugal wine, kick it a notch and jumpstart your adventure now!