Portuguese wine

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The traditional rabelo boat, used to transport Port Wine from the Douro Valley to the cellars near the city of Porto.

Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and mostly the Romans. Portugal started to export its wines to Rome during the Roman Empire. Modern exports developed with trade to England after the Methuen Treaty in 1703. From this commerce a wide variety of wines started to be grown in Portugal. And, in 1758, one of the first wine-producing region of the world, the Região Demarcada do Douro was created under the orientation of Marquis of Pombal, in the Douro Valley. Portugal has two wine producing regions protected by UNESCO as World Heritage: the Douro Valley Wine Region (Douro Vinhateiro) and Pico Island Wine Region (Ilha do Pico Vinhateira). Portugal has a big variety of local kinds, producing a very wide variety of different wines with distinctive personality.

History[edit]

"cupa", Roman tombstones in the shape of wine barrels, were used in the 3rd century AD in Alentejo, Museu de Évora

Romans did much to expand and promote viticulture in their settlements in the province of Lusitania (mainly modern south Portugal). Wines were produced across the territory for both local consumption as well as export to Rome.[1]

During the Reconquista in the 12th and 13th centuries, with the populating (povoamento) of the conquered territories, areas due to religion the Arabs reduced wine production. During this period, some new varieties were added to the ancient ones, from Burgundy came the French varieties. And during the period of discoveries, Henry the Navigator brought to the newly discovered island of Madeira the Moscatel and Malvasia from the Greek Island of Crete. In the Reign of King Carlos, the Região Demarcada do Vinho Verde and the Região Demarcada do Dão among Colares, Carcavelos, Setúbal, and Madeira were created. In 1979, Bairrada was added and in 1980 the Algarve region (Lagoa, Lagos, Portimão, and Tavira) was finally demarcated. In 1998, the Alentejo region was demarked by the gathering several smaller demarked regions created in 1995.

Grapes[edit]

Vineyards in Vinho Verde Demarcated Region in Minho, Portugal

Portugal possesses a large array of native varietals, producing an abundant variety of different wines. The wide array of Portuguese grape varietals contributes as significantly as the soil and climate to wine differentiation, producing distinctive wines from the Northern regions to Madeira Islands, and from Algarve to the Azores. In Portugal only some grape varietals or castas are authorized or endorsed in the Demarcated regions, such as:

Appellation system[edit]

The appellation system of the Douro region was created nearly two hundred years before that of France, in order to protect its superior wines from inferior ones. The quality and great variety of wines in Portugal are due to noble castas, microclimates, soils and proper technology.

Official designations:

Wine regions[edit]

Demarcated wine regions at the DOC & IPR level.

Port[edit]

A glass of tawny port

Port wine vines need to grow in schist rich soil and require a specific micro-climate. It is produced through a unique vinification method. The red varietals are the most common. The wine is produced in the beautiful landscape of the Douro Valley in Alto Douro region, a region that is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. The wine is exported from the city of Porto, thus acquiring the name Porto (or "Port" in English-speaking countries). There are several varieties of Port wine: some of the most popular are the Tawny, White, Ruby, and Late Bottled Vintage (L.B.V.).

Moscatel wines[edit]

Moscatel is a liqueurous wine from the Setúbal Peninsula. Although the region has produced wines since the dawn of nationality, it was in 1797 that the wines of Setúbal were first mentioned. There is another variety of Moscatel wine, the "Moscatel de Favaios", in the Região Demarcada do Douro, it is made from a different casta, and the "Galego" (white), while Moscatel Roxo is made upon a casta with the same name as the wine.

Some Portuguese wine terms[edit]

A colheita vintage tawny Port.

Export[edit]

Wine has been one of the most noted Portuguese exports. The country is the seventh largest exporter of the product worldwide, by value.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 536-540 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6

External links[edit]