Portugal is inextricably linked with viticulture, due to its history and the diversity of its grape varieties and wines, starting with Port wines, these fortified Portuguese wines that boast an exceptional and age-old ageing potential.
Although Port wines are the perfect representation of wine-growing in Portugal, other Portuguese wines are also worthy of wine lovers’ attention. The crisp white wines of Vinho Verde or the red wines of the Douro Valley with a Bordeaux flavour also epitomise the thousand-year-old know-how of a country whose rich wine-making tradition truly deserves to be rediscovered.
The white wines of Vinho Verde stem from a wine-making tradition that dates back to 1549, when they are mentioned for the first time in the writings of Doctor João das Regras. Today, these Portuguese wines are more precisely produced in the Entre Douro e Minho province, a part of Portugal that is characterised by the variety of its terroirs. Very lively and mineral on the palate, the white Vinho Verde wines reveal subtle lemony fragrances, floral and citrus flavours along with an irresistible freshness.
The Douro Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in Europe. With 40,000 hectares of vineyards, which share the banks of the Douro river, this valley stands out due to its splendid and unusual schist terraced landscape. Two types of wine are produced here: Port Wine, which is a mutated wine, and the still Douro DOC wines.
Stemming from this unique place, Vintage Port is regarded as the noblest wine. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão are the five major grape varieties used to produce the famous Vintage Ports. Originally a trick to transport Portuguese wine by sea three centuries ago, Port is one of the finest Portuguese wines that has captured the hearts of the choosiest connoisseurs around the world.
The Douro DOC designation was established in 1982 when Fernando Nicolau de Almeida visited the Bordeaux region. He was fascinated by the precision of fine Bordeaux wines. Upon his return to Portugal, he set about producing fine still red wines from typical Portuguese varieties. With the combination of perfectly sloping soils, ancient cultural know-how, indigenous grape varieties and a Bordeaux-like approach to winemaking, the red wines of the Douro region are powerful, structured and will appeal to lovers of Bordeaux red wines.
Thanks to an array of exceptional terroirs combined with a wealth of know-how, the quality of Portugal's fine wines promises to entice wine lovers with their pure and precise expression for many years to come.