Portugal

Portuguese Wine

In the past couple of decades, Portugal has undergone something of a wine revolution. The country updated its winemaking technologies, attitudes, and styles. Portugal is an archetypal Old World country, that has long been well-known for little more than Madeira and Port, its fortified wines and tart, light Vinho Verde. Portugal now attracts a great deal of attention for its modern wave of rich, ripe, table wines, mostly reds from the Douro Valley.

Depending on which period of history one may choose to look at Portugal, the country's place in the wine world has attracted more around its cork production than its wine. In the 18th century, the supply of French wines to England was under threat by worsening international relations and Portugal's vineyards filled up this void. In the 20th century, international demand for Portuguese wines dwindled to almost nothing. Portugal then ventured in cork industry and rose to dominate the world in cork production. In the 21st century, the Portuguese cork industry is struggling due to the rising popularity of metal screwcaps and plastic corks. However, Portugal's wines are once again thriving, led by dry reds from the Douro and Dão.

Portugal

The numerous vine varieties in Portugal and their countless local synonyms constitute the bane of ampelographers. Some like Touriga Nacional, is endemic to Portugal, while others like Tinta Roriz/Tempranillo, are shared with neighboring Spain. An increasing number are the all-time-popular 'international varieties of French origin like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately, the current success of Portuguese wines does not dependent on the latter category and thus, has thrived. Wine growers in Portugal retained their indigenous grapes, and therefore, have preserved a certain uniqueness in their wines. This quality is a valuable asset in the competitive wine market and the ever-increasing global demand.

The climate in Portugal is temperate, and predominantly maritime and offers a great deal to the ambitious vignerons. Portugal's portfolio of terroirs is not as vast as compared to either France or Italy. The country has a great variation nonetheless between its mountains, limestone-rich coastal hills, river valleys, and sandy littoral plains. Portugal enjoys high levels of rainfall that blow in from the western Atlantic are an advantage to those pursuing high yields from their vineyards. However, these rains come at a price, with the rise in fungal problems in all but the well-ventilated sites.

Provided the risk of disease can be contained effectively, producers in coastal regions like Lisboa (formerly Estremadura) and the Setubal Peninsula can generate prolific yields. By limiting quantity through skillful canopy management and judicious green harvesting, quality can be achieved in these fertile environments only. Sheltered, inland wine regions, like Douro and Transmontano, are usually better equipped for the production of quality wines. The drier climate and alluvial soils force vines to develop deep, strong root systems. Normally, stressed vines make fine wines.

What's available in Portugal

Port Blend Red 45%
Portuguese Red Blend 15%
Portuguese White Blend 6%
Port Blend White 3%
Tinta Roriz (Aragonez) - Touriga 2%
Touriga Nacional 2%
Rare Red Blend 2%
Other 24%
Discover Wine Regions in Portugal