About Portuguese Wines - Did you know?...

  • Wine making started in Portugal (Iberian Peninsula) around the 5th to the 4th century B.C., and mainly with the Romans. First exports were made to Rome.
  • The Treaty of Windsor (1386) signed between England and Portugal gave merchants from both countries equal rights – the right to reside in the other’s country and trade in equal terms with its own subjects.


  • The Methuen Treaty (1703) granted the Portuguese Wines lower duties in England in exchange for the English textiles.


  • The appellation system of the Douro region was created almost 200 years before that of France, in order to protect its superior wines from inferior ones.


  • In Portugal there are the following Official designations for the wines:


- VQPRD or QWPSR (Quality wine produced in a specific Region) – and the best are DOC (Denomination of Origin Controlled)
- IPR (Indication of Regulated Provenance) are wines that have more regulations but are not in a DOC region

- Vinho Regional (Regional wines) carry with them the Region’s name
- Vinho de Mesa (Table wines) are all the others carrying the producer and that they are from Portugal.

        -      Portugal has the following Wine Regions

- Vinho Verde
- Porto and Douro
- Távora-Varosa
- Dão
- Bairrada
- Beira Interior
- Lisboa
- Tejo
- Península de Setubal
- Alentejo
- Algarve
- Açores

- With almost 260 indigenous grapes, Portugal can offer you very different wines.

Here are some of the grapes and their main characteristics.

AROMATIC WHITES                                                                        STEELY WHITES, SOMETIMES OAKED

Alvarinho | fine, mineral, tropical fruits and flowers

Arinto / Pedernã | lemony, steely and mineral

Fernão Pires / Maria Gomes | floral and fruity

Encruzado | fine, full-bodied Dão white

Loureiro | musky, citrus, grapy and floral

Antão Vaz | crisp and easy, or rich and oaked

Moscatel | grapy and floral, sweet or dry

Bical | fresh, slightly floral, peachy


Viosinho | fresh, gently fragrant Douro white


Malvasia Fina | gentle, fresh white



FIRM, ROBUST REDS                                                                       FRUITY, ELEGANT REDS

Touriga Nacional - aromatic, herby, full-bodied

Tinta Roriz (Aragonez) - appealing, red-fruited

Castelão - firmly raspberry-fruity, cedary with age       

Alfrocheiro - smooth, easy, strawberry-fruity

Touriga Franca - dense, fragrant, with velvety tannin

Trincadeira - bright, raspberry-fruity

Baga - firm, long-lived, intense reds

Jaen - soft, aromatic, fruity

Tinto Cão - fine, dense, floral reds 

Tinta Barroca - dark, plummy reds, big in Port  and Douro

Sousão (Vinhão) - dense reds, mainly in Port and Vinho Verde


Alicante Bouschet - intense, rich reds, especially Alentejo



 Just to finish some terms of the Portuguese Wines and processes that might interest you

ADEGA – Winery
BRANCO – White
CASTA – Grape Variety
COLHEITA – Vintage
DOCE – Sweet
ESPUMANTE – Sparkling wine
GARRAFEIRA – A reserve red wine aged at least two years in a barre and one year in the bottle, or a white wine aged at least 6 months in a barrel and 6 in the bottle
RESERVA – Superior quality wine of a single variety
SECO – Dry
VERDE – Green (in opposition to Maduro/mature). Wines produced in the Vinho Verde region with a distinctive method.


There is a lot more to say about Portuguese wines, but we hope to have awaken your appetite.

We’ll be back soon!

Till then enjoy the first days of Spring with an amazing White Wine from Portugal.

Paulo Silveirinha
April 2019
Exquisite Portuguese Wines


Sources: Wikipedia, www.winesofportugal.info , www.grapesandgrains.org