In early May, I had the pleasure of joining a group of five retail wine buyers on a whirlwind tour of Portugal’s wine regions. Our lucky group spent the next seven days discovering the beautiful landscape, forward-thinking winemakers, and incredible wines to be found in this corner of Europe.
Our trip began in the rainy northern Minho region, where excellent white wines are produced. Varietals such as Alvarinho, Loureiro and Avesso are just some of the varietals that are grown in this lushly green land. Naturally low in alcohol and extremely refreshing, these are wines perfect to stock up on for summer.
Douro Valley was quite a contrast to Vinho Verde – lushly rich reds were the standout wines from this region traditionally known for their Port wine. Terraced hillsides are full of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. The history in this region is incredible – we regularly spoke with 4th and 5th generation winemakers tending their family vineyards.
One of the biggest finds of my trip was my discovery of the wines of the Dao Region. Cool climate reds and whites are being produced by some of the finest winemakers in Portugal. I predict sommeliers, wine geeks, and reviewers to “discover” this region very soon.
Moving south, the trip ended in the wine region closest to Portugal’s capital Lisbon. New winery owners are using modern techniques at their centuries-old estates once owned by Lisbon’s aristocrats. Here, the climate and land are Mediterranean – and the wines follow suit. Rhone blends are having great success.
Portugal is an old world country ready to be re-discovered by wine lovers. I predict that the refreshing and unique white wines along with the dense and complex red wines will take the wine world by storm soon, appealing to the value-seeking and collector wine lovers alike.