Since the Roman Empire, there has been a strong wine culture in the beautiful country of Portugal. 1756 is considered an important year in the country’s wine production history due to the creation of the Upper Douro General Vineyard Agricultural Company, by Marquis of Pombal, to delimit the 1st demarcated region in the world and to register the vineyards and classify the wine based on their quality.
From north to south, Portugal has different wine tastes due to the variety of the weather and geograpahy, from the well-known Oporto to the Alentejo’s one, ranging from white, red, roses and also muscatel and sparkling. Portugal wine regions could be divided by the Duoro and Tagus river in 3 main regions. The Northern region, produces some of the exceptional wines throughout the world, Douro and Porto and also the vinho verde. The central region is between Duoro and Tagus river, recognised for its sparkling wine in Portugal, and the south with its amazing muscatel in Setubal and the Alentejo’s wine.
September is considered an ideal harvesting time to produce the most authentic flavours. Let’s review the main wine routes of Portugal:
Vinho Verde Route
This route in the North starts from the Minho to the Douro. This entire region has a predominant colour of green with historical cities like Braga and Guimares amongst the other smaller but charming ones. Rural tourism is common here with palaces and manor houses with vineyards that are worth visiting. It is interesting to see the vines growing on trellises and grain stores coupled with serene landscapes ideal to give rise to light and fresh wines.
Alvarinho Vinho Verde Route
Although a part of the Vinho Verde Route, the sub regions of Moncao and Melgaco are also the birthplace of Alvarinho which is considered the most prized variety of Vinho Verde. This is why it has its own unique route concentrated around these towns.
Porto Wine Route
The scenic Porto Wine Route is surrounded by River Douro meandering down the mountains. The Alto Douro Vineyards won the title of World Heritage because of its beautiful landscapes. This route also includes another World Heritage Site called the Archaeological Park of Foz Coa.People have an option of staying there and participating in wine tastings and learning the process of wine making. The best time to do this is during the season of grape harvesting.
This Wine Route is situated in Central Portugal where you will find amazing coast beaches and towns along with the UNESCO World Heritage City of Coimbra. It covers the oldest Portuguese spas and thermal baths. An interesting fact is that Bairrada was the first region to produce the sparkling wine in Portugal.
Setubal Peninsula Wine Route
Bordered by Serra Da Arrabida Natural Park and the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, the Setubal Peninsula is known for its dolphins but also for its well reputed Muscatel.
Alentejo Wine Route
Stretching along the plains of Alentejo, this Wine Route is marked by the heat except in the far north near the S. Mamede Mountain. The whole region of Alentejo is worth checking out for its amazing history with World Heritage Site’s cities and landscapes made of rolling fields, cork oaks, and lakes which reflect the blue sky and where the power of the land wins you over.
Alentejo Summer view
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