Until I made several trips to Portugal I had no idea that it had such a developed wine industry. There are over 1 million acres of grapes grown in Portugal and the variations in soil and climate across the country produce a fantastic array of unique grape varieties for vineyards in Portugal.
The Portuguese wine industry was built on fortified wines. Port is of course what Portugal is most famous for but it also produces excellent Madeira wine.
The Portuguese soon discovered that the grapes which produced their excellent fortified wines could also provide them with some excellent table wines, both red and white.
Plus the cooler areas in the North of the country make what is known as green wine. Green wine is a very young, lightly sparkling yellowish-white wine.
The major wine growing regions in Portugal are the Douro Valley, Alentejo, the Algarve, Beira, Dao, Minho, Tejo, Setubal, Ribatejo, Montes and Tras-os-Montes.
Let’s look at the three most popular regions and some of the best vineyards to visit in each.
The wines of the Algarve have gained many new admirers in recent years. In the past, there was some snobbery when it came to wine from this region – I am sure no one wanted the Algarve to have the beaches, the weather, and the wine! – but in recent years its winemakers have demanded their seat at the table in the Portuguese wine industry.
The Algarve isn’t just beaches and sea breezes, there are also mountains to the north of the region which results in relatively low and moderate temperatures for the grapes of the region. This also means that wines from the Algarve tend to be light in body but the warmth provides a depth of taste. Unsurprisingly they are perfect for drinking in a warmer climate and with the stews and seafood characteristic of the region.
The Algarve also produces well-known grapes such as Syrah, Chardonnay, Alvarinho, Verdelho and Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you’re after a fresh dry white try wines using the Alvarinho, Arinto, or Verdelho grapes. For a sweeter, fuller-bodied white wine go for Chardonnay, Viognier, or Moscatel.
For red wine, the cabernet sauvignon, castelao and negra mole grapes will give a fresh, dry flavour. Syrah, Touriga Nacional, and Aragonez are the grapes for a more full-bodied flavour.
The Algarve’s vineyards are divided into eight areas: Lagos, Portimao, Lagoa, Silves, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro and Tavira. The largest number of vineyards are in the Silves region west of Albufeira.
Quinta Dos Vales has been operating as a winery since the 1940s. For decades it only grew the negro mole grape. In 2006, the winery came under new ownership and began growing Antoz Vaz, removed the negro mole grape and are now making 9 red wines and 8 white wines. Today, this award-winning winery is the 4th biggest producer in the Algarve.
Their wines are sold under three sub-brands: Dialog, Grace and Marques Dos Vales. The Dialog range is designed to be drunk during the day with lunch.
The winery offers tours and different levels of tastings – do make sure to book ahead.
If you’ve ever wanted to become a winemaker but aren’t keen to take on the full responsibility of a vineyard then the Quinta Dos Vales private winemaker program could be for you. The Quinta allows private customers to rent some of their lands for 99 years. The new “owner” can choose which grapes are grown on their land, what mixes they would like for their wines etc. And of course, they are able to visit their own winery!
Finally, the owner of Quinta Dos Vales is a big fan of the Colombian artist Botero. He is also an artist himself and you will see his dramatic sculptures throughout the vineyard.
Read the full article at: https://theboutiqueadventurer.com/vineyards-in-portugal/