Portugal has a wide variety of native grapes, and for that produces a variety of different wines, each one with its own personality.
Wine regions of Portugal
- The Vinho Verde wine region develops around the Minho province in the north-west of Portugal. A famous variety in Vinho Verde is the Vinho Albarinho.
- The Douro is the region of Port and red wines.
- The Dão Wine is produced in a mountainous region with temperate climate, along the Mondego and Dão rivers in the central Portugal area.
- The Bairrada wines comes from the Portuguese word “barro” meaning “clay”, and it produces table, white and red wines, it is also recognized for its natural sparkling wines.
- The Alentejo wine region produces wines from many grapes, the most common being Alfrocheiro and Tempranillo.
- The Setubal peninsula is very famous for its Moscatel based sweet wines.
The vine grapes with which Port is made need schist rich soil and they require a specific micro-climate found only in the Douro Valley along the Douro river, the main grape varieties used to make Port are Touring Nacional, Touring Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cao. The most popular Port styles are Tawny, Ruby and Late Bottled Vintage (L.B.V.).
Styles of Port:
Port made in Portugal can be divided into two categories:
- Wines matured in bottles, without exposure to oxygen, which is smoother on the palate and less tannic.
- Wines matured in wooden barrels, which allows a small amount of oxygen, called “oxidative” aging. With this process some of the Port evaporates known as Angel’s Share.
Aged tawny ports are made with red grapes aged in wooden barrels, and exposure to oxygen gives “nutty” flavours to the wine.
A Colheita Port is a single vintage wine fortified and aged in wood for at least seven years.
Garrafeira is a vintage style of port made from grapes of a single harvest and that goes through years of oxidative maturation in wood.
Ruby port is the cheapest and most produced port.
Reserve or vintage character
Reserve port is a premium ruby port.
Late Bottle Vintage (LBV)
Late bottled vintage (often referred to simply as LBV) is like drinking a vintage port but without lengthy bottle ageing.
Vintage port is made from grapes of a Declared Vintage year. Not every year is declared a Vintage in the Douro.
Single quinta vintage port
Single Quinta Vintage ports are single estate wines, the character of these aged ports comes from the slow decomposition of grape solids in each bottle.