To talk about what is the best Wine of Portugal, we have to talk about what is a good Wine. And in my opinion a good Wine is always a matter of taste. BUT nevertheless we can define what a good Wine is in general perspective. When we focus on Portuguese Wine I would start to present the most famous types of Portuguese Wine and say those are also similar to soe of the best Wines of Portugal, because their success has a reason. So why not starting there?
Vinho Verde – The White to start with
The Vinho Verde, translated “Green Wine”, is typically Portuguese. It is known as a tangy, light, acidic white wine. But it is precisely with this wine that the differences in quality are great. Here, the “well-known” wine is not necessarily the best. This is also reflected in the price. I therefore recommend spending a few euros more, but getting a higher quality in return. In my opinion, a cheap Vinho Verde is more of a headache than a pleasure.
The name comes from the fact that the wine is harvested young. The grape varieties Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal Branco, Batoca, Loureiro, Pedernã and Trajadura are permitted. Other grape varieties are also permitted in production, but are used much less frequently. All the Vinho Verde is coming from the wine region of the same name (a new blog post on Portuguese Wine Regions this soon), which lies in the north, between the Minho and Duoro rivers, stretching from the Atlantic coast to the inland.
My tip: The Terroir Mineral from Casa de Cello, from the Quinta de Sanjoanne. Everything can be found in this Vinho Verde: the minerality, the effervescence, but also the elegance that a Vinho Verde can have.
Douro – Known Red Wines and Port
The Douro Valley is the most known Wine Region in Portugal. The wines from the Duoro are versatile – you can clearly see in the landscape that this region is entirely dedicated to wine, which is why so many different grape varieties grow in the Douro Valley. Among others Bastardo, Mourisco tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (the same as Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional for the Red Wine Production. In terms of White Grapes we find mostely Donzelinho branco, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, and Viosinho.
What can you expect from the wines of the Douro? Sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean, the more continental climate produces powerful wines that have become renowned for their high quality. You will find great and well-known producers, and wines from different classes. But certainly some of the best wines in Portugal!
Port wine is also from this region. However, since all the sweet wines are a topic of their own, we will not go into them further here.
..so what is the best Wine now?
This said, I want to add: Portugal is so much richer in terms of wine that what I just described. But I know, that it is hard to get an overview in such a diverse Wine Country ( I mean we talk about more than 250 indigenous grape varieties!). So I just want to give you an advice: go beyond the famous Portuguese Wines and try Wines from different regions, with different grapes, from small producers – be curious, and you will only be surprised where your own best Portuguese Wine might be found.