Discover the Wines of Portugal

Explore One of the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secrets

Compared with its more famous wine-growing neighbours, Portugal’s wonderful (and plentiful!) options have flown under the radar — until now.

Why has it taken so long for Portugal to dazzle the wine world? For starters, the tiny country boasts a huge number of native grape varieties — upwards of 250 — which is confusing to those more familiar with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. That same diversity, though, is what’s making Portugal such a darling of international wine circles. Food friendly, versatile and with so much variety in grapes and styles, Portuguese wines truly spoil fans for choice and value.

 


Regions to Know

Spain wine region map
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The Douro

Renowned for its famous fortified Port wine, the Douro is one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world, but it’s only in the past decade that it has started to gain recognition for its non-fortified styles. Rugged and mountainous, it has terraced vineyards and hot weather that combine to produce powerful, elegant wines from the same grapes used to make Port.

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Bairrada

Known for its eclectic variety of high-quality wines, Bairrada is a favourite with wine lovers the world over. Wild temperature swings from day to night help produce delicate, aromatic whites and exciting sparkling wines. Rich soil ripens the widely planted Baga grape, which produces extremely dark, rich reds, as well as intriguing rosés.

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Dão

The mountainous Dão region of central Portugal benefits from a more temperate climate than many in the country. This results in lighter, more delicate wines, typically from Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Tinta Roriz grapes (for tannic reds), and Encruzado (for light, floral whites).


Other Regions to Discover

Alentejo, east of Lisbon, produces some of Portugal’s most popular and sought-after wines. Some bottles are still made in this ancient wine-growing region using traditional Roman techniques, such as stomping the grapes. Then there’s Algarve, which has long attracted visitors to its wide, sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle but now draws crowds eager to sample the quality of its wine. The region is already considered to be producing some of the country’s most intriguing wines, particularly its vibrant reds made from Castelão and Touriga Nacional — this is one to watch. Also explore the vinho of Tejo (formerly known as Ribatejo region), in the heart of Portugal: as winemakers begin to reduce yields and focus on quality over quantity, the area is becoming well-known for its blended reds, as well as whites made from Fernão Pires.

 


Fast Facts

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Portugal is the 11th largest wine producer in the world.
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Close to half a million acres are under grape cultivation.
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The country boasts over 250 native grape varieties.

Portugal’s Most Famous Wine: Port

No discussion of Portuguese wine is complete without a look at Port, its most well-known export, which is made from a blend of grapes (most commonly Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão). The country has been making this sweet, fortified dessert wine for over 300 years, since it was discovered that adding brandy to fermenting wine imbued it with a rich sweetness and allowed it to more easily endure the rigours of shipping. From fresh, entry-level Ruby Port and rare, dense Vintage Port to rustic Tawny Port and fashionable White Port, there’s a style for everyone.

 

DISCOVER MORE

Portugal’s Key Wines

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Touriga Nacional

Previously used mostly as a blending grape in Port, the variety has achieved great success recently as a stand-alone grape in dry reds. It's robust and rich, with strong tannins that make it capable of excellent aging.

IF YOU LOVE: Cabernet Sauvignon

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Ripe blackberry and violet flavours

TRY IT WITH: Grilled strip loin with roasted mushrooms, pappardelle with wild boar ragu or Cambozola-stuffed figs

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Touriga Franca

While it started out solely as a blending grape in Port production, Touriga Franca can now be found as a single varietal, as well as in still, dry wine blends.

IF YOU LOVE: Cabernet Franc

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Complex berry aromas and a bright, floral palate

TRY IT WITH: Cheeseburgers or a wok-kissed batch of char kway teow noodles

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Baga

Tricky to grow but rewarding when ripened to its full potential, the Baga grape is grown across the country but is best known in Bairrada. Baga is as versatile as it is tasty and is being made into stunning rosé and sparkling wines, as well as reds.

IF YOU LOVE: Pinot Noir

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Red cherry and coffee bean aromas

TRY IT WITH: Roast duck or a simple plate of pasta pomodoro

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Vinho Verde

Portugal’s most famous white wine derives its name — it translates as “green wine” — not from its colour but from the fact that it’s typically served quite young. Sometimes fizzy, always crisp, this refreshing sipper comes from a blend of numerous grapes, including Alvarinho, Arinto, Azal and Loureiro.

IF YOU LOVE: Moscato

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Citrus aromas, exotic fruit flavours and a bracing acidity

TRY IT WITH: Fresh, minimally prepared seafood

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Arinto

Grown widely in the country, Arinto is commonly used as part of the Vinho Verde blend, but it also produces light, refreshing wines all on its own. Crisp and dry, soft and citrusy, this wine’s gutsy acidity and mineral qualities make it an excellent picnic wine.

IF YOU LOVE: Austrian Grüner Veltliner

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Lemon blossom aromas and ripe pineapple flavours with firm structure

TRY IT WITH: Great with seafood or a simple roast chicken

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Alvarinho

Grown widely in Portugal’s northwest, where it is often made as a single varietal bottling, Alvarinho is also a central player in the Vinho Verde blend. Distinct and well-balanced, it produces steely, structured wines with jasmine and orange blossom aromas.

IF YOU LOVE: Pinot Grigio

YOU’LL EXPERIENCE: Floral and fruity qualities (especially grapefruit and apple)

TRY IT WITH: Cold fresh oysters, grilled razor clams or Japanese yakitori



Wines to Try

Start discovering our collection of exciting Portuguese wines with this curated list.