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Portugal’s wines, grapes and popular food pairings
(4 min. read)
With its wealth of native grapes and value-driven, food-friendly wines, diminutive Portugal packs a punch.
Dazzling natural beauty, picturesque historical villages and great food have made Portugal a must-visit destination for holiday-goers around the globe. And there’s no question that much of the attraction stems from the dynamic, high-quality, value-packed, food-friendly wines crafted across the country.
Portugal’s reputation for wines that provide both excellent value and quality is a product of the expressive, dynamic blends produced here.
Though imported grapes such as Syrah, Cabernet and Chardonnay are permitted, the soul and strength of Portugal’s winemaking is centred squarely on its over 250 indigenous grape varieties. Such diversity allows for a virtually inexhaustible array of must-try, elegant, refined, food-friendly expressions. This astonishing variety might suggest a confusion of styles for consumers to wrap their heads around, but Portugal’s winemakers focus on just a handful of grapes as the foundation for their blends. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Trincadeira are the most common contributors to the country’s red blends, providing a familiar baseline for fans to lock on to. Producers then draw on the wealth of native grapes at their disposal to season these blends and reflect their own styles. Similarly, Albariño (Alvarinho), Loureiro and Encruzado are some of the more important white varieties used in Portugal’s white blends.
Inherent refinement and balance make Portugal’s wines versatile and capable partners for a wide range of dishes.
Here are some popular pairings.
Vinho Verde’s aromatic whites, with their tones of white flowers, apple and lime-citrus, along with bright driving acidity and mineral notes, are perfect for seafood in a rich, creamy sauce.
LAMB OR GOAT STEW
Many Portuguese reds are crafted in an approachable, smooth, richly textured style. Ripe red fruit and excellent balance make these wines appealing options for lamb or goat stew.
BEEF DISHES OR RABBIT
Reds with more pronounced, muscular tannins call for beef dishes or rabbit in red-wine sauce to match their intensity, rich ripe fruit and dense mouthfeel.
ROASTED PORK LOIN
Roasted pork loin is another good option for the complex, concentrated red fruit and structure of Portuguese red blends.
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