Seems lately I have a strong affinity for this little country and all things wine that they produce. Maybe because our next group tasting will feature the Douro valley specifically…and it won’t just be Port either! Strong red wines made from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cao, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and who know what else!! And like Italy, this little country boasts many indegenous grape varietals that I can’t even pronounce!
I plan to blog about a few of these wines that I can only imagine will be real gems. But to preface that tasting, I thought you might enjoy some fun facts about Portugal!
– Bordered on the north and the east by Spain, and the Atlantic Ocean on the south and west, Portugal is approximately 700 km long and 350 km wide.
– There are more than 250 grape varieties that do not exist anywhere else in the world.
– Portugal has appeared in six World Cups. Their first appearance was in 1966 where they placed 3rd and the next best showing was in 2006 where they placed 4th.
– Grape growing climates include Meditteranean and Continental, and there are many types of soils to grow grapes.
– Madeira is part of Portugal and is famous for wines made from the Estufagem method; ie controlled heating of the wines. The best ones (in order of sweetness level) are made from Verdelho, Sercial, Boal and Malvasia.
– The capital city is Lisbon, with a population of approx. 2.8 million.
– Portugal accounts for 50% of the worlds cork which as we know is the preferred means for wine closures. The Botanical name is called Quercus suber L.
– Grapes for Port wine are produced in the Douro Valley from 5 allowable grape varieties. (the Tourigas and the Tintas!) It is shipped out from Vila Nova de Gaia, which is close to Porto, Portugal’s second largest city.
– Vinho Verde is a region, not a grape. Translated to English, it means, “Green Wine”. It’s made from a variety of local white grapes, and yes, in the glass it looks pretty much green. Low in alcohol and extremely high in acidity, this wine gives off a bit of frizzante!
– Although Port is made from Portugese grapes, some of the British wealthy were largely responsible for the shipping of Port, so Port Houses have traditional British names. Croft, Grahams, Taylor Fladgate are just a few examples!
And there is soooo much more I could tell you about Portugal, but I guess the next best thing would be to actually go there right? In fact, as strange as this may sound, I do believe it will be my first wine region visited…Cheers!