Portugal and Wines
Worldwide known for the production of Port Wine, Portugal is the oldest demarcated region in the world with 250 native grape varieties.
The demarcated regions of Portugal correspond to the fourth largest area of vineyards in Europe, with 199 thousand hectares, being 174 thousand hectares of vineyards with Geographical Indication (IG) or Controlled Denomination of Origin (DOC).
There are 14 demarcated wine regions in Portugal:
1-Vinho Verde Region
Main grape varieties: Alvarinho, Loureiro, Trajadura, Avesso, Arinto and Azal.
2- Region of Trás-os-Montes
Main grape varieties: Trincadeira, Bastardo, Marufo, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Syria, Fernão Pires, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.
Main grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Trincadeira, Souzão, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Rabigato, Viosinho and Moscatel Galego.
4- Távora-Varosa Region
Main grape varieties: Malvasia Fina, Cerceal, Gouveio, Chardonnay, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Pinot Noir.
5- Dão Region
Main grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Tinta Roriz, Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina and Verdelho.
6 – Bairrada Region
Main grape varieties: Baga, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Fernão Pires, Arinto, Rabo de Ovelha, Cercial and Chardonnay.
7 – Beira Interior Region
Main grape varieties: Siria, Arinto, Fernão Pires and Malvasia Fina.
8 – Lisbon Region
Main grape varieties: Castelão, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Miúda, Trincadeira, Touriga Franca, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Seara-Nova, Vital, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Aragonez and Trincadeira.
9 – Tejo Region
Main grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Castelão, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Fernão Pires, Arinto, Tália, Trincadeira das Pratas and Vital
10- Setúbal Peninsula Region
Main grape varieties: Castelão, Fernão Pires, Arinto, Moscatel de Setúbal, Moscatel and Moscatel Roxo.
11 – Alentejo Region
Main grape varieties: Wardrobe, Antão Vaz, Arinto Trincadeira, Aragonez, Castelão, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay.
12 – Algarve Region
Main grape varieties: Castelão, Negra Mole, Arinto, Síria and Syrah.
Main grape varieties: Tinta Mole, Sercial, Boal, Malvasia and Verdelho.
14 – Region of the Azores.
Main grape varieties: Verdelho, Arinto, Terrantez, Boal and Fernão Pires.
The Port wine, despite being produced with Douro grapes and stored in the immense cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, owes its name to the city of Porto, from where it has been exported to the world since the 17th century. It is a fortified liqueur wine, produced exclusively from grapes from the Douro Demarcated Region, about 100 km from the city of Porto. This area has a unique climate in which the grapes grow and develop, and whose fermentation in the wine making process is not complete, being interrupted two or three days after the beginning, by the addition of neutral wine spirit with alcoholic content around 77º. This combination makes Port Wine quite sweet and stronger than a normal wine.
There are four types of Port wines: Ruby, Tawny, White and Rosé.
Ruby Port Wine is a common Port Wine, which ages in bottle, made from red grapes and ripened for several years, with a sweet and fruity flavor. Due to its greater contact with the wood, it has a deep red color, fresh aromas of red fruits and more evident tannins. Putting, in order of increasing quality, we have Ruby, Reserva, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and finally Vintage. Vintage and LBV can be kept, as they age well in the bottle.
Tawny Port Wine is matured for longer than Ruby Port Wine, has a brownish red color and is stored in oak barrels, having more flavor to nuts. Its color is evolving and should be integrated in the sub-classes of red-golden, golden or light golden color. The aromas are reminiscent of dried fruits and wood; the older the wine is, the more these characteristics become accentuated. When they are bottled, they are ready to be consumed. The existing categories are: Tawny, Tawny Reserva, Tawny with Age Indication (10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years) and Harvest.
White Port Wine made with white grape varieties from the slopes of the Douro ages in large oak barrels with different shades ranging from pale white, straw white and golden white. Those aged in cask, for many years, acquire, through natural oxidation, a light golden-brown hue similar to that of very old red wines. In terms of sweetness, White Port Wine can be very sweet, sweet, semi-dry, or extra dry. The sweetness of the wine is an option of manufacture, conditioned by the moment of interruption of the fermentation. Typically, White Port Wines are young and fruity wines and can bear the words Reserve or Age Indication (10, 20, 30 or + 40 years) as long as the formalities set out in the Port Wine regulations are fulfilled.
Rosé Port Wine is the most modern aspect of Port Wines, obtained by a mild maceration of red grapes and has a pink color and should be consumed new with good aromatic exuberance of notes of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. In the mouth they are smooth and pleasant. They should be enjoyed fresh or with ice and can also be served in different cocktails.
- Touriga nacional
- Touriga francesa
- Tinto cão
- Tinta barroca
- Tinta roriz
- Tinta amarela
To appreciate any wine in its fullness it is essential to harmonize it with the accompaniment, Porto Branco, for example, combines with dates, roasted almonds or smoked salmon while a Ruby Port, accompanies with cheesecake or soft and intense cheeses average.
To enjoy a Tawny Port you already need strong cheeses or pâtés while an LBV Port takes you to cake or chocolate mousse. For Porto Vintage look for old blue cheeses, such as Stilton. Tawny 10 Years Old already asks for a hard cheese with flavors of dried fruits, or a dessert like apple tart! 30 and 40 years do not need monitoring!
It is known that in some parts of the world, Port wine is drunk throughout the meal! However, this is a little extreme. It must be consumed at the right time when it is possible to appreciate the flavor profiles that each of the Port wines can offer. With the exception of Porto Brancos and Rosés, given its special characteristics, Port Wine should be kept in a place sheltered from light, dry and cool, but not cold. The ideal temperatures to serve are: Rosé at about 4ºC, White at 6 and 10ºC, Ruby between 12 and 16ºC and Tawny between 10 and 14ºC.
“Vinho verde”, (literally ‘green wine’), originated from the Demarcated Green Wine Region (doc). This region was demarcated on September 18, 1908 and is composed by the area of northwest Portugal known as Entre-Douro-e-Minho, with the northern limits of the river Minho, which establishes part of the border with Spain, in the south the river Douro and the mountains of Freita, Arada and Montemuro, to the east the mountains of Peneda, Gerês, Cabreira and Marão and to the west the Atlantic Ocean. This wine is produced only from the indigenous grape varieties of the region, preserving its typical aromas and flavors that are distinguished worldwide.
Its name ‘green wine’ does not come from its color, but from the colour of the green fields from the area where it is produced. It is a young wine because it is ready to be consumed without having gone through periods of maturation in barrels or cellars, it has high acidity and remarkable freshness.
Winemakers define them as light wines, with a vibrant freshness and fruity and floral notes. We can distinguish between classic green wines, young, light, fresh and with low alcohol content and sophisticated green wines, with great potential for storage, complex, intense and mineral aromas and flavors.
There are four types of green wine, white, rosé, red and sparkling wines and still from these grapes, brandy is produced.
The young white green wines of this variety have colors that vary from citrus to straw tones, have an intense acidity, although delicate, and in the mouth they are harmonious, intense and show great freshness. The intensity of its fruity and floral aromas shows a powerful freshness with each sip. The aged white wines have a golden color, with aromas of more ripe fruit such as quince and honey. In the mouth they have more complexity and structure, a rounder, fatter and more persistent wine.
The rosé green wines reveal a slightly pink or charged color, young, fresh aromas, reminiscent of red fruits with a persistent flavor, despite their natural freshness.
The red green wines have an intense red color and, sometimes, pink or bright red foam, vinous aroma, with emphasis on wild fruits. In the mouth they are fresh and intense, very gastronomic, maintaining the general characteristics: striking acidity, intense freshness in its flavor and aroma
The sparkling green wine has enhanced the characteristics of aromatic freshness, associated with greater taste complexity with aromatic freshness always present due to lower consumption temperatures. What varies in this case is the sweetness of the wine because of the concentration of residual sugar present in the final result.
The brandy (“Aguardente Vínica de Vinho Verde”), fruit of the distillation of the wines, is aged in cask. The aromatic and taste characteristics resulting from this stage improve not only the color, from yellowish to topaz, but also the aroma and flavor, becoming more complex and smoother.
Main white varieties:Alvarinho, Arinto (Pedernã), Avesso, Azal, Loureiro and Trajadura.
Main red grape varieties: Alvarelhão, Amaral, Borraçal, Espadeiro, Baker, Pedral, Rabo de Anho and Vinhão.
In order to fully appreciate a wine it is essential to harmonize it with the accompaniment, the green wines combine with seafood and saltwater fish, octopus, sushi and sashimi! In Portugal, they combine very well with regional cuisine, such as, for example, roasted sardines, rojões, …
What is the difference between green wine and mature wine?
The distinction between green and ripe is not related to the level of ripeness of the grapes. The designation of green wine refers to wine produced specifically in the wine region of Vinhos Verdes, the mature wine is all that is produced outside this region.
The differentiation between green wine and mature wine is something that only exists in Portugal. Basically, it allows to highlight the specificity of green wines compared to all others: greens are lighter, fresher and, generally, less alcoholic wines.
In our online store, within this category, we recommend Alvarinho Soalheiro or Muralhas, try and comment!