Green wine is a unique product, with a blend of aromas and petillance that makes it a delicious natural beverage. Medium in alcohol, Green wine has great digestive properties due to its freshness and special qualities. It is a highly regarded wine, especially when served chilled for summer drinking. The malo-lactic fermentation gives it a distinctive taste and personality. The reds are full-bodied wines with an intense colour and rosy or light red foam. The whites usually present a lemony or straw colour.
The strong distinctive character and originality of these wines are the result of soil and climate characteristics, social-economic elements, grape varieties and the vinegrowing methods.
The wines, distinguished by their great vegetative expansion in severe conditions, occupy an area of almost 35 thousand hectares, corresponding to 15% of the national viticultural area.
The range of wines from Trás of Montes is as diverse as the landscapes. The region produces the whole range of wines from somewhat stringent and very alcoholic red to light sparkling or semi-sweet floral whites.
The local grapes are: Boal Branco, Côdega de Larinho, Malvasia Fina, Síria, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira.
The red wines are produced from native vines such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (Aragonez), Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão. The great majority of these wines are the product of a blend of several varietals and they possess an unequalled complexity and richness that is so characteristic of the Douro. There are also good examples of single varietal wines, that is, wines produced from a single variety, especially one of the first three mentioned above.
There are great Douro white wines and are produced by blending several varietals such as Malvasia Fina,Viosinho, Gouveio and Rabigato.
Accompanying the worldwide consumer trend, the Douro has seen the birth of an increasing number of rosé wines. These wines are only made by lightly macerated red grapes. They have a lovely pink colour and possess exuberant young aromas of raspberry, cherry and hard sweets. In the mouth, one is easily captivated by their smoothness, sweetness and acidity. These wines are ideal as an aperitif in the summer and they are perfect companions for oriental food. They should be drunk young (1 to 2 years old) and lightly chilled, between 10º and 12ºC.
Beira Interior Region
This region is ideally designed for wine growing, namely because of granite soils, high altitudes and seasoned Continental weather. For the white wines this region offers unique conditions to achieve a high standard in quality. They are naturally acidic and fresh, with an intense bouquet and a citrus character. Equally the red wines achieve a delicate fragrance and nobility in body, achieving a special character, maturing with time.
In the northern producing regions, nearer to the Douro, the "Távora-Varosa" red wines obtain stronger personality, with a special structure and singularity that impress the most demanding consumer.
This major region is in the heart of Beira Alta and produces many red and white wines. The Dão region is to the east of the Bairrada region being geographically larger in size and covering 16 municipalities in the area between Viseu, Guarda and Coimbra. The vines are grown in the valleys on slopes generally starting at an altitude of 200 mts. up to about 500 mts.
The soil is basically granite which favours the red varieties. The reds are strong, deep in colour and full-bodied. The whites tend to be aromatic and fruity and some are bottled as sparkling rosé.
The wines in the Bairrada region are grown generally on flat land and region that is a major red wine producer in Portugal and is located on the coastal plain lying slightly inland from the sea to the town of Aveiro, and then south down to the town of Coimbra.
The red wine produced here is noted for its smoothness and suavity, deep in colour and full-bodied, acquiring a brownish hue as it ages. The white wines are fairly robust, fruity with a hint of lemon. The rosé ranges in colour and are fresh and fruity. Sparkling wines are produced in white and rosé and range from “Brut” to “Medium Dry”.
The Lisbon Region holds an important place in the Portuguese wine landscape, due to the extension of its vineyards but especially due to the quality of its wines and brandies.
Carcavelos, Colares and Bucelas were the first denominations to be created in the Lisbon Region. Further north we find the controlled denomination of Alenquer, Arruda and Torres Vedras. Close to the sea we find the delimited region of Lourinhã. The wine production region of Óbidos, known for its distinctive red and white wines and recently for its sparkling wines, lies a little further north. The northern limit of the Lisbon region runs from the hills of Serra d’Aire to the sea. This vast wine region, although divided into small parcels of land, produces wines with the appellation of origin of Encostas d’ Aire.
The local grapes are: Arinto, Castelão, Fernão Pires, Malvasia Rei, Seara Nova, Santarém and Vital.
The Denomination of Origin of Tejo has six sub-regions (Almeirim, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Santarém and Tomar). The soils vary according to their proximity to the sea. Marshlands are very fertile areas located by the river.
Tejo has been famous for producing large quantities of wine that would supply restaurants and taverns in Lisbon. Its large agricultural holdings would seek to obtain the maximum profit from the vines and produce low quality wine to be sold in bulk. In the last 15 years, the region underwent significant changes, not only in the fields but also in the wineries. Many vines were transferred from the fields near the sea to the ones in the interior. This lowered production, but increased quality.
The local grapes are: Alicante Branco, Castelão, Fernão Pires and Trincadeira.
Península de Setúbal Region
The Península de Setúbal comprises two Denominations of Origin; Palmela and Setúbal and the designation vinhos regionais Península de Setúbal (Península de Setúbal regional wines – formally Terras do Sado regional wines). Most of the region’s wines use the Castelão grape in their composition. Castelão is the region’s traditional grape variety and legislation says a high percentage of this grape must be used in the production of DOC wines.
The dominant white grape varieties are Fernão Pires, Arinto and, of course, Moscatel de Setúbal. This last one is used in white wines, but also in fortified wines from the Denomination of Origin of Setúbal.
In the last years, producers have been trying to adapt other grape varieties to the region. Started planting grape varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Aragonez or Touriga Franca, as well as some foreign ones, such as the famous Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Chardonnay. These grape varieties are greatly used in the production of Terras do Sado regional wines.
The Alentejo has led the way in Portugal’s wine revolution and more specifically, its red wines. There are two distinct styles of Alentejo red. First, there is what can loosely be termed the traditional style. These often combine earthy, herbal, undergrowth-like savoury flavours and aromas with the fruit. Traditional Alentejo wines are often complex and reasonably age worthy. Then there is the modern style which show lots of intense fruit. Both Alentejo styles are interesting and worthwhile, but it is the latter, more modern group of wines that has been largely responsible for putting the Alentejo on the map as one of Portugal’s most important red wine regions.
Traditional Portuguese grape varieties dominate the region, but newcomers such as Syrah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon are beginning to make inroads, often blended with the local varieties: Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Antão Vaz, Aragonez, Arinto, Castelão, Fernão Pires, Manteudo, Moreto, Rabo de Ovelho, Roupeiro & Tamar .
The Algarve is the only demarcated District in Portugal that does not produce a variety of white wines along with its red wine. The red wines tend to be full-bodied, a fruity rich flavour, low acidity, and containing a high alcohol level. Of late there has been a renewal of interest and several smaller private vineyards have been created and are marketing their own labels.
The local grapes are: Bual Branco, Castelão, Manteudo, Negra Mole and Roupeiro.