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Alentejo Located to the East of Lisbon and covering more than a third of the land area of Portugal, Alentejo is well suited to the vine cultivation. The Romans were quite serious about making wine in the region but production dropped away until about 10 years ago, since when there has been an explosion of new and dedicated winemakers showing what the region can achieve when the grape varieties, principally indigeneous, and sites are well selected. The climate has less of an Atlantic influence about it and temperatures to the East can really soar, giving grapes the opportunity to ripen and usually yielding wines of a fuller body.
Bairrada Interesting wines guaranteed from this relatively unknown region. Lying in the Northern part of central Portugal and in close proximity to the Atlantic, red wines made from the Baga grape dominate. A difficult grape to master but once tamed, and in the right producers' hands, the wine drinker is amply rewarded with wines that have a balance of fine fruit and acidity. Luis Pato has established a deserved reputation in the region, producing wines of real quality at all price levels. Ignore the whites from Bairrada at your peril - from the accessible citrussy styles from the Bical grape to the more serious waxy and concentrated expressions.
Dao Capable of making very fine reds, the Dao region is emerging as one of Portugal's premium wine producing areas after something of a struggle. The region's situation, in a bowl and surrounded by mountains, protects the wine growing areas from the meteorological excesses of the Atlantic and the Iberian interior. Most famous amongst its wine making fraternity is Quinta dos Roques, where the effervescent ex Maths pedagogue, Luis Lorenco, is making award winning reds and whites.
Douro The source of some excellent table wines, often from winemakers renowned for their port making skills, the Douro region extends from very close to the Spanish border down to the area west of Pinhao. Although awarded DOC status as recently 1979, table wine production in the area goes back a couple of centuries, but the wines were certainly not historic in any sense - often coarse and unattractive, made from the crumbs of the proverbial port grape table. But things have changed a lot and the best combine intensity, depth and power with elegance and subtlety.
Minho Named after the river that runs through the region, with Galicia in Spain to its north and Portugal to its south. This is the region that produces wines labelled Vinho Verde and the quality of these wines varies considerably - from the sublime to the ridiculous. Click on this category to select some of the more sublime examples!