What are Portugal's best wine regions?
According to the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine, the Portuguese are the world’s number one consumers of wine, with the average citizen drinking around 72 bottles of wine per year! You could say it’s a passion of ours. The wine culture here in Portugal stretches back around 4,000 years, with its early history shaped by Phoenicians, Greeks, Celts, and Romans. But what does the world know of Portuguese wine today? For many, wine in Portugal is often overlooked in favour of Europe’s largest wine producers, France, Spain, and Italy. The most famous Portuguese wines are indisputably the sweet, fortified wines Madeira and Port. This is, though, far from being a full picture of wine in the country. In Portugal, we have over 200 native grape varieties and an array of other classic varieties imported for wine production — Portugal is home to a wine culture as diverse as its landscape.
Join us today at Honest Routes as we list the country’s stand-out wine regions. And, while you’re here, why not check out our full range of Unique Portugal Tours.
The Alentejo region of Portugal encompasses around a third of the country’s landmass, yet the region is sparsely populated and often gets overlooked for more tourism-centred destinations. The coastline of Alentejo is surely among the most dramatic and beautiful in all of Europe, and the general old-world pace of life makes this a destination very much worthy of your consideration. The wine of the Alentejo region is mostly focused on warm, full-bodied red blends, though there has been a boom in the production of characterful white wines in recent years. Of the two hundred or so wineries in Alentejo, around 60 of them will open their doors to guests, so there are plenty of opportunities here for touring. If travelling in Alentejo, be sure not to miss the region’s historic city of Évora. We offer a Day Tour From Lisbon to Évora that combines local history and exploration of the major sights with a wine tasting, during which we’ll sample some wines from the area.
In contrast to the full-bodied reds of the Alentejo, Portugal’s northernmost wine region, Minho, is known primarily for its crisp, refreshing whites. The region is also the DOC defined area of production for Vinho Verde (“green wine”). Vinho Verde is so named due to the wines being very young and normally drank soon after bottling. The Minho region shares many characteristics with the nearby Spanish area of Rias Baixas, which is just over the border. The majors grapes used in Minho’s wine production include the natives Alvarinho, Avesso, Loureiro, Pederna (Arinto) and Trajadura. Chardonnay and Riesling are often the most favoured international varieties. The Minho region’s close proximity to Porto makes it an excellent choice for day tours.
The last region on our list is the Dão region, one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the entire country. It was, though, one man, João de Sacadura Botte Côrte-Real, who pioneered superior winemaking in the Dão region, and led to the region’s vineyards getting DOC protected status. Located on a plateau, the region is sheltered on three sides by mountains, which makes the territory particularly fertile and excellent for cultivation. Around 80% of the region’s wine is red, with much of it made using native grape varieties, such as Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrocheiro Preto and Encruzado. There are countless possibilities for rewarding tasters across this beautiful stretch of Portugal.
This brings us to the end of our list of some of Portugal’s best wine regions. We hope we’ve inspired you to begin planning your next trip. If you have any questions or comments about this blog or our tours, please get in touch.