This is one the most famous wine regions in Portugal, due to its excellent Port and Douro wines
What you should know about Port and Douro:
- Fine, rich unfortified wines, both red and white
- Named as UNESCO World Heritage by UNESCO
- Great mixture of grapes
- Traditional vineyard contrast with modern terraces
The Douro region is divided into the following sub-regions:
- Baixo Corgo
The western most area, climate is cooler and influenced by the sea, resulting in lighter wines.
- Cima Corgo
Centred on the little town of Pinhão, protected by the mountains from the maritime influence, represents two-thirds of the Douro’s vines.
- Douro Superior
Close to the Spanish border, it is wild and isolated facing extreme climate, very cold winters and hot summers
Main white grapes in Douro/Porto:
- Malvasia Fina
- Donzelinho Branco
- Esgana Cão
Main red grapes in Douro/Porto:
- Touriga Nacional
- Tinta Roriz (Aragonez)
- Touriga Franca
- Tinta Barroca
- Tinto Cão
- Mourisco Tinto
- Tinta Amarela (Trincadeira)
- Tinta Francisca
The base wine for Port is made and fortified in wineries in the Douro Valley, then taken to the Port lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto, by the river, for ageing.
There are a variety of Port styles:
- fruity white
- to the finest and most expensive, vintage Ports and aged tawnies
Vintage Port is made in the best years, and bottled after only two years in barrel, keeping its richness and redness. This wine style benefits from ageing in bottle to add complexity.
The Douro Valley
It is presumed to be the last of the world’s major wine regions still to be pressing significant quantities of its grapes by foot - in shallow, open wine-fermenters, called lagares. In recent years ‘robotic lagares’ designed to simulate the gentle action of the human foot were introduced with excellent results.
Some see the great mixture of grapes as key to top quality , while others maintain that the best grapes for unfortified wines are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz.