Portugal should be on top of any wine lover's list. The country has some of the best and most charming traditional wineries where native grape varieties are still hand-picked and are foot-trodden in the old-fashioned way.
There are many wineries in Portugal, making it difficult to just narrow it down to a few. After much sipping and swirling we decided to highlight these four wine regions paired with suggested wineries to visit in each area.
Below you will find an overview of the main wine-producing regions and the best wineries that each region has to offer.
The Douro Valley
The Douro Valley is indisputably Portugal's most famous wine region, synonymous with one of the finest wines in the world - port wine, or simply "port". The distinctive port has wine brandy called aguardenteadded during the fermentation stage is grown and produced in this unique region and before 1956, used to be transported to Porto up the Douro river in colorful "rabelo" boats to be aged in traditional cave cellars in Vila de Gaia.
The Douro Valley region is located just under 100 km from Porto and is characterized by magnificently steep slopes of schist rock along the Douro river. It's astounding how the slopes were carved centuries ago to make space for vineyards and how the wine roots make their way through the hard schist rock to reach wetter soil. To completely understand Port wine, you would need two separate trips - one to the wine estates in the Douro Valley and another to the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.
- Quinta de la Rosa - The Quinta de la Rosa is a small and beautiful family-owned quinta located on the banks of the Douro. They offer a great tour and wine tasting - just check ahead of time for tour times.
- Quinta do Portal - The Quinta do Portal cellar is a must for a visit to the Douro region. They have a modern visitor center and a large wine-making facility. No appointments are necessary ahead of time as with many other cellars in Portugal.
- Quinta do Seixo - The Quinta do Seixo is a centuries old quinta with 99 hectares of vineyards and a modern winery. They offer a wonderful guided tour, wine tasting, and no appointments are necessary ahead of time.
- Quinta da Romaneira - The Quinta da Romaneirais one of the largest properties in the Douro region vineyard with over 85 hectares of grape varieties growing. Call ahead of time to make an appointment.
- Quinta do Côtto - Quinta do Côtto is a palace estate with 70 hectares of vineyards. Try the 2001 Paco de Teireiró, a nice white from the Minho region.
- Quinta do Passadouro - Quinta do Passadouro is a charming estate in the Douro Valley and is wonderful for a lot of wine tasting and a stay for at least one night.
- Quinta de Marrocos - Quinta de Marrocos is a very charming estate with 13 hectares of vinyards. There are guest accommodations and wonderful wine tastings. The owners speak English, French and Italian.
- Quinta Nova - Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is a wonderful estate that specializes in wine and gourmet food.
Minho Region - Vinho Verde Wine
Minho Region, located in the Northwestern part of Portugal near the Atlantic Ocean, is best known for its vinho verde or "green" wine.Verde in this context refers not to the color of wine but to its unripe state, as this type of wine is meant to be drunk while it's still young and fresh. The actual color of the wine is pale yellow like any other white wine. Vinho verde is renowned for its high acidity, crispness and fizz.
- Quinta do Ameal - Quinta do Ameal is a beautiful small 18th century property that produces excellent white wines made from a grape variety called Loureiro.
- Palacio de Brejoeira - Palácio da Brejoeira is an 18th century Palace with English-style gardens and 18 hectares of Alvarinho vines.
- Paço de Teixeiró - The Paço de Teixeiró estate dates all the way back to the 14th century and produces white wine.
Portugal's Alentejo region, located southeast of Lisbon, has in recent years become a highly regarded wine-producing region after a major revival during the 1980s. The climate of the region is very hot and dry, producing concentrated red wines that the region specializes in. The area also makes wine that's prepared in the ancient Roman way, called Vinho de Talha - a fragrant and deep wine that's stored in huge clay pots.
- Herdade da Calada - Herdade da Calada is a charming estate located just about 10 km from the ancient Roman town of Evora. The winery uses innovative technology to preserve the high quality of it’s vineyard's grapes, producing unique wines with high complexity and natural flavors.
- Herdade do Esporão - Herdade do Esporão's wine tourism program is part of the World Wine Route and was the first to get certified in Portugal! There are many attractions on the estate and you can even do a tour on a jeep or on a Segway.
- Cartuxa Winery - Cartuxa Winery is a former Jesuit house built in 1775, with a wine press. It's located just two kilometers from Evora. The wine produced at Cartuxa has a distinctive style and character.
Sebutal is a peninsula located just across the Tagus River, south of Lisbon. The region is infamous for its Moscatel wine called Moscatel de Setubal. The region produces fortified sweet wines and exportable reds and dry whites. The main grapes native to this region are Castelão (red) and Moscatel (white). The region's wine making history dates back to Roman times. A wine tour in Setubal is an easy day trip from Lisbon.
- J.M. da Fonseca - J.M. da Fonseca is the most well-known producer and winery in Setubal. The winery has been family-owned and passed down for seven generations.
- Malo Tojo - Malo Tojo is an 80 hectare estate that grows red Castelão and Touriga Nacional grapes, as well as Moscatel and Fernão Pires white grapes.
The two wineries mentioned above are really close to each other.
Did you Know?
There are over 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) of vines in the country of distinct variations of grapes depending on the region. This is because the climate and soil type really varies from the cool North region where "green wine" is produced, down to the Southern Alentejo region influenced by the hot and dry climate. Distinct varieties of grapes come from the regions of Alentejo, the Algarve, Beira, Dão, Douro, Minho, Montes, Ribatejo, Setúbal, Tejo, and Trás-os-Montes.
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