Port wine (Portuguese fortified wine) is exclusively produced in the region of Porto. The farms are located in the Douro Valley and the caves (cellars), where the barrels are kept, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Since the beginning of its marketing, the wine was descending the Douro River on the boats rabelo to be processed and stored in the oak barrels in these caves, and then to be bottled and distributed.
The port wine storages have always been linked mostly to the British families, who were, in fact, distributing the wine, by the sea, to the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Choose, which port wine cellar you would like to visit, what is not going to be an easy task to make, because they all have a different stories to tell. Guided tours in the cellars include degustation of the port wine at the end of the visit.
The crops and aged Tawny’s should be served chilled, either in summer or in wintertime. These can be drunk as aperitifs or after the meal, perfect, when accompanied by nuts. The Tawny’s 10 or 20 years old are the best to be accompanied by Stilton cheese and the symbols of Portuguese cheese industry, cheeses of Serra da Estrela.
The production of fortified sweet wine from Muscat grape is concentrated in the region of Douro and also in Setúbal peninsula (the most famous ones). Most Muscat wine is sold young and fruity, but with age, the wine acquires the flavors of nuts and figs. The Moscatel de Setúbal can only be designated if at least 85% of the wine is composed of Moscatel, Moscatel de Setúbal or Moscatel Roxo ( rare and slightly different from the variety of other Muscat wines).
The orange, lemon, flowers and grapes flavors of Muscat wines are perfect partners for desserts and puddings – flavored sweet dishes with citrus, coffee, chocolate, hazelnuts, almonds, rice pudding, custard and all the candies with eggs and sugar, that the Portuguese convent sweets industry offers. The Muscat is also a good choice for Pavlova and other desserts with meringues.
Vinho Verde is unique in the world. A naturally light and fresh wine is produced in the demarcated region of Vinho Verde in northwestern Portugal, a coastal region, geographically well located for the production of an excellent white wines. Cradle of the charismatic Alvarinho and producer of unique blended wines, the Vinho Verde Region in 2008 celebrated the centenary of its demarcation.
The striking typicality and originality of these wines is the result, on the one hand, of the soil characteristics, climate and socio-economic factors of the Vinho Verde Region, and on the other hand, the peculiarities of indigenous varieties of the region and forms of cultivation. These factors result in a naturally light and fresh wine, different from the other wines in the world.
Low in alcohol, and therefore less in caloric, Vinho Verde is a fruity wine, easy to drink, great as an aperitif or harmonization with light and balanced meals: salads, fish, seafood, white meats, tapas, sushi, sashimi and other international dishes.
Slightly alcoholic and rich in texture, these wines are born in vineyards beneath a blazing sun and the summers of high temperatures. These wines are soft and rich, when are born in Alentejo, intense and mineral come from Douro, and stocky ones originate in Tras-os-Montes. Portugal has the advantage of having numerous indigenous varieties, able to preserve acidity in hot climates and use it to keep a coolness in a batch of wine with large structure.
The whites with the structure can be enriched with oak fermentation, which makes them denser and more structured and / or oak ripening, which gives them mild or sharp flavor of wood. These are wines, that marry well with the food strong flavors. Wines with wooden blackberries are more difficult to match with normally cooked food, but they can make a good connection with the smoked food.
Typically, rosé wines have a slight acidity, low alcohol and a light body, especially when grown in cooler local maritime influence or high altitude. Portugal is a country of pink, as it has been shown by so many strongly presented international marks, universal symbols, such as Matthew and the Lancers. There is no Portuguese region, where the Rosé does not grow.
Rosé is a fresh and fruity alternative to dry whites. The most of rosés blend well with any food and can be a good, low alcoholic way to go along with a summer barbecue. Dry and fruity rosés are great with a variety of slightly spiced food, including vegetables and salad dishes, thanks to its gentle sweetness (even consciously imperceptible).
Soft and aromatic red wines.
The vineyards along the Portuguese Atlantic coast (the ones, that make white light, fresh and fruity wines) also produce similar red wines. These are the light, aromatic and usually with alcohol at around 11%. In the northwest of Portugal, the region of Vinho Verde, produce a very peculiar red wine, loaded with color, often made from indigenous grape Vinhão, including skins.
Have, as a rule, a low alcohol content, light structure and soft tannins. The regions, elected for the light and aromatic type of red, are located mostly in the south of Portugal. The wines from Alentejo is on the head of the list of a silky wines, young and fragrant, full of ripe fruit.
The red Vinho Verde goes well with grilled sardines, fatty meats and traditional charcuterie. Typically, the wine is commercialized in the same bottles as the White Green wine.
Red wines with structure
The hot summers of Alentejo help the ripening of the grapes and where the sweet grapes are sweet, create wines with great body and strong fruity flavor. The Alentejo reds are made from a wide range of grape varieties, including Trincadeira and Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah, Touriga National and Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines can be cheap, rich and or very expensive, even richer, denser and aged in wood, but still with a certain opulence and charm. There are red wines, born in other regions of the country, that also fit into this category of wines, rich, greedy in fruit, for example the wines of Tagus region or the highest areas of Douro.
The soft tannins facilitate the adaptation of these wines with food. But the food taste needs to be pronounced, otherwise it is going to be overtaken by wine. Hunting, red, well or slightly tempered meats and charcuterie can combine perfectly with this type of wine. The wines from ripe Touriga National (if they are not too woody) are good for beef and wines with Aragonez, for mutton meat, especially when it is cooked with thyme.
The high altitude, granitic soils, cold climate and long maturities are the main features of the Dão region, responsible for generating a large amount of elegant red wines. Touriga National is mixed with Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and other grape varieties to produce wines, intense in flavor, fragrance, acid and balanced. The red wines of Palmela, in Setúbal Peninsula, can also be stylish, when made from Castelão, variety, which is difficult to cultivate in other regions, but that finds its plenitude in the sandy soils of Setúbal peninsula, where it matures to perfection.
These are very versatile wines. They can be consumed all year round and blend in perfectly with a wide variety of food, from poultry to red meats and cheeses.
The wood wine is slightly caramelized due to the aging process, through the heat and oxidation. Today its traditional production is reduced, but it is possible to buy bottles of Madeira and complex old wines, produced from the indigenous white varieties. The wines are designated by the caste of their composition and according to their level of sweetness. The wood varies in sweetness from the category Dry to Sweet. In ascending order of sweetness, Madeira are produced from the white varieties: Sercial, Terrantez, Verdelho, Boal and Malvasia. The red variety is used for all kinds of sweetness through the same heating and oxidative process.
Blue cheeses, for example Roquefort, are the good partners for Malvasia and Boal. The Stilton goes well with Boal and Verdelho. Scandinavian cheese Gjetost is the perfect pair for the old Boal (although this is a well guarded secret). Most of Malvasia, however, is probably consumed after the meal together with nuts and dry fruit, or simply drunk alone.