The Alentejo region feels strangely similar to California (save for a few marble castles to remind you that you’re still in Europe) with low rolling hills of wheat, even hot temperatures and tons of sun. There are many progressive and modern wineries here making red wines that offer generous fruit and mocha flavors with refined tannins from careful wood aging strategies.
Baga is the highly productive red grape of Beira, grown in Bairrada. In the past, the wines made with 100% Baga were known to be densely structured, blackberry-fruit driven wines with high acidity and a tar-like finish.
The most mountainous region in Portugal has one of the most challenging climates to produce grapes. With a shorter growing season (but still very hot), you’ll find reds to have red-fruit driven flavors with herbaceous smoky notes and a juicy finish and white wines tend to be lean with chalky minerality.
The Dão has been identified amongst collectors as a place to watch for quality. Wines from the Dão are lighter in style than in the Douro but have shown to age very well because of the tannin and acidity development (a.k.a. “structure”) from growing in high altitude areas with rugged soils of decomposing granite and schist (similar to Douro and Priorat).
Douro are crisp, minerally white wines with very little fruity flavors, subtle flinty notes and salinity, and high acidity. Douro white wines are a little harder to find and include the white Port varieties of Rabigato, Viosinho, Gouveio, and Folgazão
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 (Alenquer, Bucelas, etc) that are already making their way into stores internationally.
The oldest Port wine house, since 1638. In the following centuries, Kopke perpetuates the spirit built with many hands and with passion. It remains at the level that always have been, the highest standards of quality and with great prizes that attest the brand recognition. And it continues, with the same sensitivity, to create extraordinary experiences of wine. Today, Kopke is the leader in Colheitas and aged white ports.
Once called Ribatejo, Tejo is mostly flat and in these areas you’ll find large agricultural holdings where lower quality, simple quaffing wines are the norm.
Best served young when the wine is at its peak of aromatics and crisp acidity, the wines of Minho are the ideal wine alongside salads, fish, vegetable dishes and even do well paired against citrus-driven sauces.