Portugal

Portugal is old Europe and has actually been growing grapes and making wine for some three and a half thousand years. This is a country where modernization and technology didn’t come until the late 70s. There are city neighborhoods that can take you back five centuries, to the height of the country’s imperial power. Many of Portugal’s greatest wines are still made with ancient technology. You will find examples of innovation in Portugal that are tied to respect for agricultural wisdom.

Evolution

The quality of Portuguese wines is definitely higher than it’s ever been. There is a lovely range of very distinctive flavors and styles. Nowadays Portuguese wine is at a very interesting stage in its evolution. Portugal itself has a very noble history with an amazing variety of regions having distinct regional styles which means you never get bored of Portuguese wines. Additionally, Portugal vineyards have one of the most unique collections of grape varieties in the world. Moreover, the country has as many grape varieties as France and you can find very interesting and really food-friendly grape varieties that people would love to taste.

Douro River

In the passing centuries, the Douro River Valley in Portugal blossomed into a major wine region. The Douro River starts in Spain flowing into Portugal where it cuts its way through deep valleys emerging into the Atlantic where the city of Porto stands.

This region has a long history with wine dating back to the Roman times and one of the first regions to be officially regulated meaning the wine was certified. Of course, the region is most famous for port. The tasty grapes thriving in this unique microclimate. There are 155 grape varieties in this extreme environment. The temperature can reach 40 degrees celsius with no rank for weeks on ends but soft rock just below the surface is easily split allowing the roots to reach down sometimes 60 feet in their quest for water. In 1756 the Duoro Valley was established as a protected wine-producing region, the world’s first. Today it’s a UNESCO world heritage site.

Dão

Dão is one of the oldest wine regions in Portugal. It’s very unique in terms of landscape with a quite big area of forests with small hills and small valleys. All the vineyards in the Dão wine region usually are smaller vineyards and completely surrounded by the forests. The soil is mainly granitic which makes also a lot of minerality in the wine.

Photo credit: Stefan Grage