Portugal: Wine Tasting Holiday
You can't go wrong with a wine tasting holiday in Portugal. Portugal has two wine making centres, each famous in its own right. In the north of mainline Portugal, wine tasting centres around the famous Port wine which is produced in and around Oporto and the Douro Valley. You don’t have to be an avid wine buff to know that Portugal's other main spot is Madeira which also produces fortified wines. Portugal has a great more to offer than just fortified wines however, there are many varieties you’ll want to get your taste buds around.
Like most wine growing countries, Portugal has different wine regions. Each region produces its characteristic grape varieties. What makes Portuguese wine tasting so interesting is that all the grape varieties are distinct to each particular area and they only use native grapes. This of course is highly different from South African, New Zealand and Californian wines which can be a blend of grapes from all over the world. The Portuguese government make sure that the wine produced is the best you can possibly buy and there are strict quality controls.
If you are keen to taste wines from Portugal you will find that it’s not all that easy to buy as they aren’t well known outside of Portugal.
Alentejo Wine is produced in the southern part of the country and is made form the alentejo grape. The grape produces a fruity and soft white with an edge of acidity. You’ll find that this wine is one of the most popular in Portugal.
Bairrada Wine – 80% of wines from this region are red and 95% of these come from the baga grape. Baga grapes are thick skinned and produce wines which are acidic and high in tannins. A local tradition is to add in the stems during the fermentation process which makes this wine variety very tough and challenging to drink. However the better wine producers can actually produce a very palatable wine.
Colares Sand Wine – This wine is actually grown in very sandy soil just outside Lisbon. These are one of the most expensive wines simply due to supply and demand. There isn’t that much wine growing land around Lisbon because of urban sprawl so there supply cannot meet demand. You will find both wine and red wines from this region.
Dão Wine – The region of Dao is in the north of the country and enjoys a more temperate climate. It is a mountainous region and as a resul the hills protect the grapes from wind off the sea. They produce both red and white wines which are very fuity and the minimum alcohol content is 11%. Those who are in the wine industry claim that these wines are amongst the best in Portugal. Grão Vasco and Aliança are just two which are recommended to anyone looking to taste Portuguese wines.
If you are keen to start tasting wines from Portugal, or better still, taste wines in Portugal, there are some Portuguese wine terms you might like to learn.
* Adega - Winery
* Branco - White
* Casta - Grape variety
* Colheita Vintage year
* Garrafeira - A reserve red wine which has been aged for at least 2 years in the barrel plus one year in the bottle. A white wine must be aged for at least 6 months in a barrel and only 6 months in the bottle.
* Maduro - These are mature wines which are produced in all regions of Portugal except for ones which are produced in the Vinho Verde region. You are very unlikely to see this term on any bottle.
* Quinta - Vineyard
* Reserva - A superior quality wine made from a single vintage.
* Seco - Dry
* Tinto - Red
* Verde - Green and opposite of Maduro. Vinho Verde wines are produced in a distinct way.
* Vinho - Wine