Portugal : A Region to Dream About

I have not been to Portugal yet to explore their wine regions and sample their wines as I feast on grilled fish or other Portuguese dishes. I received this press release from the Wines of Portugal about the Fall in Portugal and I thought I would share it with you and give you Wanderlust as well.


The days have grown cooler and the first hints of woodsmoke linger in the air. The leaves are turning deep gold and russet. It’s time to sip a warming glass of red wine and daydream about warmer climes.

Better yet, combine the two on a vinous reverie to sunny Portugal! Portugal has a mainly hot, dry Mediterranean climate offering a wealth of elegant, structured wines. If you want to beat the heat, and sip on lighter reds, just head further north on the Atlantic coast.

Portugal boasts an impressive diversity of vineyard terroirs, from rugged mountains to verdant river valleys. Over 250 native grape varieties grow here, crafted into highly distinctive wines in a variety of styles.

They are the ideal choice for adventurous wine lovers looking for great value off-the-beaten track. To get started, let’s check out some of Portugal’s best red wine appellations.

Douro (c) Wines of Portugal
Douro (c) Wines of Portugal


Douro e Porto

You’ll need your hiking boots to make it up the mainly granite and schist slopes of the Douro region. These steep, terraced vineyards follow the sinuous path of the Douro River from the Spanish border, gradually flattening as they near Porto. The rugged beauty and long-standing quality reputation of Douro wines garnered the region UNESCO World Heritage status.

In this hot, dry climate, protected from wet coastal weather by the Serra do Marão mountains, red grapes like Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional thrive. These are the favoured varieties used in the Douro’s famous fortified dessert wine, Port. They also feature in the region’s ageworthy dry red wines, giving appealing dark fruit, violet scented wines with a bold, firm structure.

Dão © Wines of Portugal
Dão © Wines of Portugal


Traveling southwest, we come to the mountainous region of Dão. The area is sheltered from the extremes of both continental and maritime weather patterns, giving it a temperate climate. Like the Douro, the Dão takes its name from the river of the same name, that traverses its vineyards.

Touriga Nacional is the reigning red grape here, often blended with Tinta Roriz. The Dão’s granite soil give a slightly fresher, more mineral-laced quality to these red blends as compared to the Douro. Excellent reds are also being made from the region’s Alfrocheiro and Jaen varieties.

Barraida © Luis Pais
Barraida © Luis Pais


To the west and south of Dão, lies the flat, coastal region of Bairrada. You had better pack an umbrella as it can be quite rainy here, though the climate is mild. The vineyards grow on clay-limestone soils in certain areas and on sandy soils elsewhere giving quite different wine styles – more ample and tannic on the former, silkier and lighter on the latter.

The major red grape of Bairrada is Baga. This thin-skinned, late ripening variety yields wines of vibrant freshness, medium body, and perfumed notes of wild berries and plum. Depending on how the wines are made, tannins can range from supple to quite muscular, requiring a few years’ ageing to soften.

Alentejo © Gladstone Campos
Alentejo © Gladstone Campos


The hot, dry region of Alentejo represents one-third of Portugal’s total surface area. Due to Altenjo’s size, its multitude of different soil types, and varied topography, from steep mountainous terrain in the north to vast, gently undulating vineyards further south, the appellation is divided into eight distinct sub-regions.

Alentejo is the heartland of Portugal’s red wine production. Major grapes include: Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão, and Trincadeira. It is difficult to generalize given the region’s wide diversity, but rich, velvety, ripe-fruited red wines are common.

Enjoying Portguese wine with food
Enjoying Portguese wine with food

A Voyage in a Glass…

Portugal has a proud tradition for fine winemaking dating back thousands of years. Each Portuguese wine is unique and tells us a story that, if you let it, can transport you into the heart of its vineyards.

About Wines of Portugal

ViniPortugal is a private and non-profit interprofessional association, created with the aim of promoting and supporting Portuguese wine production, both domestically and internationally. ViniPortugal’s Mission is to promote the image of Portugal as a country that produces wines of excellence, by valuing the brand Wines of Portugal and contributing to a sustainable growth of both volume and average price of Portuguese wine, as well as its diversity. Eight professional associations representing trade (ACIBEV, ANCEVE and AND), production (CAP, FENADEGAS, FENAVI and FEVIPOR) and demarcated regions (ANDOVI), integrate ViniPortugal.

For more information about Wines of Portugal, please visit www.winesofportugal.com

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.