Among the varieties of Portuguese wines, and without taking into account the always emblematic Port Wine, the two main styles that enchant lovers of Portuguese wines are red wines and white wines. Each of them has unique characteristics that make them unique and suitable for different occasions.
First of all, Portuguese wines are known and appreciated internationally for their richness and complexity. Furthermore, what sets our country apart is the variety of indigenous grape varieties used in wines, with more than 250 Lusitanian grape varieties, a determining factor in exploring the strong personality of our terroirs and reinventing, with each bottle, the excellent flavors of our grapes.
Starting with the red wines, which can range from the softest and most elegant to the most full-bodied. Soft red wines are characterized by being more aromatic and have a lower alcohol content. This style of wine is mainly produced in the coastal region of the country, extending its vineyards and production on the Portuguese Atlantic coast. This style of wine harmonizes perfectly with the famous traditional charcuterie of the country, very present in the regions of Trás-os-Montes, Beiras and Alentejo, and is also a great companion for meat dishes.
On the other hand, structured red wines have unique characteristics, such as persistent tannins and fruity aromas. In this case, the Alentejo reds produced from the Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Tinta Miúda and Alicante Bouschet grape varieties, for example, are a great option to accompany dishes with game meat.
What's more, Portugal's most iconic robust reds are produced from the Douro Valley region in northern Portugal. In this style, tannins are expressed in a unique and striking way, making wines more refined and with great aging potential. In addition to the Douro, the Bairrada region produces robust reds from the native Baga grape variety, considered queen in the region. The high acidity of these wines contributes to making a perfect red for any time of the year. This style, much appreciated, harmonizes with stewed meats and cheeses, especially goat cheese.
The Dão region is known for producing elegant red wines. These wines are characterized by being intense, with good acidity and very balanced, being mostly produced by the Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Jaen varieties. In gastronomy, this style is flexible, being a great ally for game dishes, red meats and cheeses.
Portuguese white wines are mostly known for their freshness and elegance, ranging from the lightest to the most structured. The light white wines are designated as smooth and aromatic, with predominantly floral notes, light notes of fresh fruits, such as peach and passion fruit, and high acidity, which is a true trademark, giving them a delicate character. The smooth white wines are ideal for the summer, being refreshing, suitable for accompanying fish dishes and salads and mostly produced on a large scale in the Douro, Dão and Alentejo regions.
Otherwise, the more structured white wines are recognized for having unique characteristics. Its alcohol content, for example, is more present in relation to light white wines, as well as signaling wood flavors, which can be light or sharper. These wines are born, above all, in the Douro and Alentejo region, where they also have an incomparable freshness, ideal for hot days and to accompany foods richer in flavors and spices.
In addition to red and white wines, Portugal has a good variety of rosé and sparkling wines, the latter being a tradition in the Bairrada region, located in the centre, in the Beira Litoral region, where the production of sparkling wines goes beyond time and is strongly linked to the tradition of the region.
Thus, Portuguese red and white wines offer unique sensory experiences, each with its own distinct characteristics. Exploring the native varieties of Portugal and their regions of origin translates into a true oenological journey, where authentic and unforgettable flavors are discovered, always accompanying our gastronomy full of tradition and personality. Among the styles and characteristics mentioned here, which of these styles cannot be missing from the table, regardless of the occasion?
(Our guess is to always have at least one of each!).