Now… Where were we? Aaa yes! In the top wine regions of the world by country! The last ones I talked to you about were the Top Italian Wine Regions! And since the French ones are already discussed, it’s time to move on to the 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions!
This whole wine regions series post started after talking to you about How To Become A Wine Expert! Visiting wine regions is one of the most productive ways that will help you realize your goal, as it is a time spent learning based on experience and actual fun! You get to see and live what you are reading about wines and winemaking in front of your eyes! You taste the wines you are reading about and you get to do it while also having some really awesome holidays!
So, moving on, I am about to talk to you about the 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions! They are absolutely amazing and it is completely on you to choose the one of your liking! i am about to give you some details about the wine regions themselves, their history of winemaking, but also about wine activities available and other travel details that will help decide on your favorite one!
But how about I get to the cheesy part?
Here Is A List With The 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions We Are Going To Check
- Alentejo Wine Region
- Barraida Wine Region
- Douro Valley Wine Region
- Vinho Verde Wine Region
- Dão Wine Region
- Madeira Wine Region
But let’s elaborate a bit on them…
No #1: Alentejo Wine Region
The Alentejo Wine Region is located in the southeastern part of Portugal and it covers about one-third of the country. The name of the region can be attributed to its location in relation to the river Tejo, as it breaks down to the words além, meaning beyond, and Tejo, the name of the river. So, Alentejo means “beyond the river Tejo”. The region consists of eight subregions: Borba, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Moura, Portalegre, Redondo, Reguengos, and Vidigueira.
The wines produced in the wine region of Alentejo are mostly red while Alentejano VR ( Vinho Regional ) and Alentejo DOC ( Denominação de Origem Controlada ) are two of the designations to be used for these wines. There are mainly two styles of wine, the traditional red wines and the more recent modern wines which are also responsible for Portugal’s new wave of wines. White and Rosé wines are also produced, however, the amount is relatively much lower o the representative red wines of Alentejo. Generally, this wine region offers some of the best Old World wines that there are in the market at the moment, worthy to be compared and surpass the best of French, Italian and Spanish wines.
These are some of the grape varieties produced in the wine region of Alentejo and used (imported) for its wines
- Alfrocheiro Preto
- Alicante Bouschet
- Cabernet Sauvignon (imported)
- Fernão Pires
- Syrah (imported)
The region can be described as a quiet one, as it is literally the least populated region of Portugal. It offers great landscape beauty as well as the famous “Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve”, visible only from the region of Alentejo. A great scenery of stars across the sky that one usually sees in a movie. Évora, one of the eight subregions and capital of Alentejo, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its old historical town and great monuments.
The wine region of Alentejo consists of large wine estates while Herdade dos Grous and Herdade de Malhadinha Nova are only two of the best wineries you can visit across the wine region. There are quite a few wine tastings you can attend to, as well as wine tours and walking tours that will offer you a great experience. There are a lot of hotels you can choose for your stay and you will find Alentejo Wine Region to be a magical place to combine your vacation with your wine knowledge acquirement.
No #2 : Barraida Wine Region
The Barraida Wine Region is located in the central northern part of Portugal within the western part of the Beiras (Beira) region, called Beira Litoral Province. Since it is quite close to the sea, the region is rather influenced by the climate of the Atlantic, mild and quite rainy. Although the Barraida wine region is characterized by hills, most of its vineyards are situated in its plains.
This wine region is actually popular for its red wines, which are also the largest part of its wine production, however, white, rosé and sparkling wines are also produced in the area. The red wines were traditionally mainly made from the grape variety Baga and the whites from the grape variety Fernao Pires (or Maria Gomes). Other grape varieties produced and used for the wines of Barraida are the Arinto, Bical, Borrado das Moscas, Rabo the Ovelha, Castelao Frances, Rufete (or Tinta Pinheira), while Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Touriga Nacional have also been used for the wines of the region since 2003. Worthy of mentioning is the fact that the region holds the wine designation of Barraida DOC, one of the highest ones of the entire country.
Although this wine region is a small one, there are wine tours, wine tastings and wine activities you can indulge yourself to, while you will have the opportunity to visit the extraordinary Underground Wine and Art Museum of Aliança! You may also find more details about it here.
No #3 : Douro Valley Wine Region
The Douro Valley Wine Region is located in the northeastern part of Portugal within the Province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, therefore sometimes called Alto Douro Wine Region (meaning “upper Douro wine region). It consists of three subregions, Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior while it stretches around the Douro river valley. The wine history of the region dates a lot of years back as there are indications of winemaking from the 3rd century AD.
The Douro Valley Wine Region is where the famous fortified wine of Portugal, Port Wine or Vinho do Porto, is produced. Of course, nonfortified wines are also produced in the region that are really well known themselves and they are characterized as Douro wines. The Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (or Aragonez) and Touriga Francesa grape varieties are the ones used for the production of Port wine, while Bastardo (or Trousseau), Donzelinho Branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Mourisco Tinto, Rabigato, Tinta Amarela and Viosinho are the rest of the varieties produced in the Douro Valley Wine Region for its wines.
The Douro Valley offers an amazing site of beauty and one is not surprised to learn that it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. There are a lot of wonderful wine related activities for you to do in this wine region. Wine cruises and wine tasting tours are only two of them amongst many while you will find hotels available that you will absolutely love. Definitely a place worth visiting! After all, the Douro Valley Wine Region is the birthplace of the lovely Port Wine!
No #4 : Vinho Verde Wine Region
The Vinho Verde Wine Region is located in the north west part of the country, bordering with Spain, and it consists of nine subregions: Ave, Amarante, Baião, Basto, Cávado, Lima, Monção, Paiva and Sousa. The region was recognized as a DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada) in 1984 and it currently counts up to 21.0000 hectares of vineyards.
The Vinho Verde wines we are familiar with are actually wines coming from that wine region of Portugal and they can be white, red, rosé or even sparkling wines. The name Vinho Verde, although it literally means green wine, it is translated as “young wine” and that is due to the fact that Vinho Verdes are meant to be drunk young. The grape varieties used for the production of these wines are quite a few…
But here are some of the grape varieties used for the Vinho Verde wines
- Arinto (or Pederna)
- Doçal de Refóios
- Fernão Pires
- Rabo de Ovelha
Wine tastings and winery visits are only two of the available wine activities within the Vinho Verde Wine Region. You can have wine tours and even picnics in the wonderful vineyards of the region. Adega Cooperativa de Ponte de Lima, Ana Alcina Taveira Machado, Casa Senhorial do Reguengo, Caves da Montanha and Eduardo Alberto Pacheco Valente Leal are also some of the wineries you will be able to visit within the region.It is a wonderful wine region and you will find it quite an adequate place to fulfill your wishes for entertainment and wine learning. Here you can get even further information that will help plan your visit, in case Vinho Verde is your choice among the 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions.
No #5 : Dão Wine Region
The Dão Wine Region is located in the north of the country also within the Beiras (Beira) region, in the Beira Alta Province, and south of the Douro Valley Wine Region and it takes its name from the river Dão in the area. The region got its DOC appellation in 1990 and it also has a long winemaking history amongst the wine regions of Portugal. The Dão area consists of the following seven subregions: Alva, Castendo, Serra da Estrela, Besteiros, Terras de Azurara, Silgueiros and Terras de Senhorim, while only a small percentage of the area is covered by vineyards ( approximately 5%).
This wine region produces red wines as well as white ones. Alfrocheiro, Baga, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (or Aragonez), Bical, Cercial, Encruzado, Malvasia Fina and Verdelho are only some of the grape varieties used for the region’s wines, the famous Dão wines. The vines are protected from the climatic changes as it is situated right in the middle of three mountains, Serra da Estrela, Serra da Nave and Serra do Caramulo.
You may have wine tastings and wine tours in the wine region of Dão, and it is a wonderful chance for you to enjoy the gastronomy of the area. Adega Cooperativa de Mangualde, CRL, Caves São João and Julia Kemper Wines are only some of the wine houses you will find within this wine region.
No #6 : Madeira Wine Region
The Madeira Wine Region is situated on the island of Madeira in the south of Lisbon, the word Madeira itself means wood and therefore the island of Madeira translates to “the island of wood” as when it was first discovered it was full of trees. Of course, a large part of trees doesn’t exist nowadays, since vineyards took their place. The famous homonymous fortified wine Madeira is produced in this wine region
The famous homonymous fortified wine Madeira is produced in this wine region as well as a large range of other wines under the designation of Madeira DOC and Vinho Regional (VR). Some of the grape varieties used for the wines of this wine region are: Sercial, Malvasia, Terrantez, Bastardo, Bual and Tinta Negra.
The island of Madeira is now an amazing resort for your vacation as it offers a great cuisine for your appetite, wonderful landscapes which have been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with a large variety of historic sightseeings and cultural notes. Of course, wine tours, cruises and wine tasting could not be absent. And if you have a strong urge to be adventurous, diving, hiking, canyoning and anything you can imagine is available in Madeira. Here are Top 10 things to see and do in Madeira as well as a guide of upcoming events taking place on the island.
To Sum Up…
One of the most valuable things you can do that will help on your way to becoming a wine expert, is visit some wine regions across the world. In this way, you get to combine great holidays and wine knowledge along the way. It’s a much more fun way and without any sweat!
So, today I’ve talked to you about 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions, but which one is yours after all? If Portugal is on your “Bucket wish list”, well, now is the time to pull it off and enjoy your time in one of these extraordinary wine regions! If it isn’t, I think you will add it after you have read this article! 😉
Please, by all means, let me know about your final choice among these 6 Top Portuguese Wine Regions! If you think I might have left a top one out, I will be happy to discuss it with you in the comments section and of course, add it to this list!