Portugal’s wine industry developed in relative isolation, most
grape varieties are not grow anywhere else in the world. If you don’t recognize the grape on a Portuguese wine label,that’s a good thing. There are over 250 local varieties and a few imports that have adapted well to the Portugueselandscape. To many wine experts, Portugal is the last frontier of wine in Western Europe; there so much to be tasted and explored.
Portugal Wine Terms
- Vinho Tinto: Red Wine
- Vinho Branco: White Wine
- Quinta: Wine You’ll often find this word as part of a winery’s name on the label of wines from Portugal.
DOC stands for Denominação de Origem Controlada and means the wine comes from a strictly defined geographical area with recommended and permitted grapes and maximum vine yields (to control quality). Technically there are 31 DOCs in Portugal
Vinho Verde: Light-bodied white wines, and the occasional rose. Wines often have a slight spritz and fruity, lemonade-like flavors with notes of melon, gooseberry, and a chalky texture. Producers create white Vinho Verde wines with a blend of several grape varieties, including Arinto, Azal, Trajadura, Loureiro, and Alvarinho (AKA Albarino).
Lisboa: One of the most dynamic and varied regions is a strip that runs from Lisbon northward along the coast. There are many wines from the various regions in Lisboa that are already making their way into stores internationally. While there is a great quality found in Lisboa, most of the wines you’ll find available are affordable (around $10 a bottle) and great for everyday drinking.
Alentejo: The Alentejo is similar to California with low rolling hills of wheat, hot temperatures, and tons of sun. Thewines follow suit in similarity. There are many progressive and modern wineries here making red wines that offergenerous fruit and mocha flavors with big refined tannins, developed from careful wood aging strategies. White winesfrom the Alentejo range from medium-bodied refreshers to full-bodied, food worthy whites similar to Chardonnay.