Synthesis of opposites - Wine from Portugal
The impetus from traditional inland traditions and fresh approaches along the Atlantic coast of the North seems to have come to a standstill. Perhaps because of the importance that Portuguese wine has gained through care, hard work and unique grape varieties. Why improve something when it all tastes good. World-famous port wine and Madeira wine as export hits, Vinho Verde, which stands like no other for the lightness of Portugal and heavy, powerful red wines, as one would expect them from a sun-kissed river valley. Portuguese wine reveals itself to the connoisseur in many ways.
Portuguese wine specialities
The most famous wine from Portugal is undoubtedly the sweet and strong port wine from the Douro valley inland. However, the large wineries in the port city of Porto, where the port wine is stored in excessively large barrels, give the wine its name. At least 2 and up to 10 years the sprayed wines mature in the wooden barrels to fully develop their aroma and taste. A fine sweetness develops, which makes the port wine very storable and makes it very popular as dessert wine and aperitif.
High in the north of Portugal, "green wine" is at home. Next to port wine, it is the most important export of Portuguese viticulture. Often cultivated on pergolas, an arcade covered with vines, the white grape varieties Alvarinho, Trajadura, Pederñao and Avesso for example, produce a fresh, light and low-alcohol white wine, ideal for drinking and enjoying young. Characteristic for the Vinho Verde is a slight sparkling carbonic acid, which encourages to drink. Because the name refers less to the color green - the Vinho Verde is found both as white and red wine - but refers on the one hand to the green countryside of the region Minho, on the other hand to the fact that the wine is drunk predominantly young.
Like port wine, Madeira wine is a fortified wine in which fermentation is stopped by the addition of pure alcohol. The special feature is the storage at high temperatures of up to 75° C, which is supposed to simulate the original sea voyages through the tropics, where the unmistakable taste of the wine came to light for the first time. What used to happen by chance is now regulated. Approved grape varieties include Malvasia, Verdelho and Sercial, whereby the alcohol content must ultimately be between 17 and 22 %Vol. in order to be allowed to bear the melodious name Madeira Wine.
Portugal's wine growing regions
Despite the famous representatives of Portuguese wine, a powerful and spicy red wine is considered typical among the Portuguese, of whom about 15% live from viticulture. Spread over about 240,000 hectares, 5 wine-growing zones, 40 cultivation areas for quality wine, 26 of which have DOC status, the winegrowers cultivate and vinify a large number of native and partly even root-genuine grape varieties in the scattered quintas of the country. Come along on a small excursion along the Atlantic coast, through picturesque valleys and over rippling streams.
The wine-growing region in northern Portugal is considered the oldest in the world and extends deep inland. On the steep terraces, the vines thrive on slate soils that have stored enough moisture for the vines to survive the long and hot summers without any problems. Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barocca form the basis for the port wine, whereby a large part of the harvest is also used for heavy red wine.
Vinho Verde and Minho
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Douro Valley is the Vinho Verde and Minho growing area. With the help of the sea breezes and the rainy climate, white grape varieties thrive splendidly here. This highly fertile region accounts for about one-fifth of Portugal's total yield. The fresh Vinho Verde is therefore the most important export of the winegrowers in terms of quantity. However, many treasures never leave the country and are all too readily consumed by the locals themselves. Don't worry - we have brought some tasty specialities from the northernmost wine-growing region for Portuguese wines for you.
East of Lisbon are the large wheat fields of the Alentejo, where important deposits of cork oak can still be found today. But the region on the border to Spain has not only made a name for itself with natural corks. The warm climate, nutrient-rich loam and clay soils and artificial irrigation create an up-and-coming wine industry in the Alentejo, which focuses on strong red wine.
The Estremadura wine region runs along the Atlantic coast from Lisbon to Leiria and, at around 60,000 hectares, is the largest wine growing region in Portugal. The majority of the area falls on white grape varieties. Many cultivation areas with DOC status are located between the coastal belt and the hilly inland. As in most Portuguese wine-growing areas, the Estremadura region mainly cultivates native grape varieties.
Terras do Sado
Wines with the title Terras do Sado assure a noble and traditional origin of fine white wines and powerful red wines. The two DOC regions of Palmela and Setúbal merge to form the Península de Setúbal wine region and have been producing quality wines on calcareous and clay-rich soils for over a hundred years. In the heart of Portugal, the noble sweet liqueur wine Moscatel de Setúbal, the number three dessert wine after port and Madeira wine, is also produced.
The quality levels of Portuguese wine
The wine law in Portugal has 3 quality levels, which are comparable to the French classification. They are based on geographical indications and specify grape varieties, yield and alcohol content.
- Vinho, formerly Vinho de Mesa, is a table wine without geographical indication. Some of these are simple wines, but high-quality wines may be declared as vinho in order to circumvent the strict guidelines of the DOC guidelines.
- Indicação Geográfica Protegida (IGP), formerly Vinho Regional, corresponds to the country wine with a protected designation of origin. Grape variety and alcoholic strength by volume are also compulsory, but are much looser defined than the conditions for a quality wine.
- Denominação de Origem Protegida (DOP) / Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), replaced the Indicação de Proveniência Regulamentada (IPR) quality level in 2011, is the highest and most common quality level for Portuguese wine. Grape variety, alcohol content, acidity, colour, ripening time and aroma are all regulated.
In addition, Portuguese wine is differentiated according to age:
- Verdes: Young wines to enjoy immediately
- Maturo: Mature wines, often aged in barrels
- Garrafeira: top wines with very long ageing in the barrel
Portuguese wine buy cheap online
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