Wine in Portugal reminds me a lot of Portugal on the global scene. The Portuguese used to ‘rule the waves’ and dominated global exploration in the 15th century. Portugal was a major player, but this slipped over the years and it is only after removing their dictator in the 20th century did Portugal start to fully recover.
Ask an American about Portugal and they’ll invariably have no idea what, or where it is. In the European news, Portugal gets little or no mention. Ask a brit about Portugal and they will reference only the Algarve and a perception of beautiful beaches and hours of sun.
Portuguese wine is not that dissimilar. It has legacy, some vines are 100’s of years old. The first vines were planted by the Romans – thats a long time ago! Drive around the Algarve on holiday and purchase some cheap wine from the supermarket and you’ll often be confronted with some pretty nasty wine – well what do you expect for 3 euros?
However, Portugal produces some of the best wine in the world. Don’t take my word for it, just check all the awards they’ve won. Up you budget to 10 euros, or even 20 and you’ll be tasting some of the finest wines in the world.
Portugal has an incredibly long history producing wines. It has the soil, it has the weather, it has the knowledge – so why is it so lesser known? Who knows, its probably perception, its probably marketing. Whatever it is, i don’t mind as it keeps the lovely stuff safe for my wine rack.
If you fancy a tour through the many vineyards in Portugal, a safe place to start is the Douro valley. Probably the finest wine growing region in the country. Theres a great selection of river cruises, along with tours through some of the best vineyards. Of course theres lots of lovely wines to taste too.
Another great trip to do if you are motorhoming, or have a car is the Alentejo wine route. My parents did this journey in 2014 and had a lovely time. They obtained a handy little book that directed them to all the best vineyards whilst soaking up some fantastic scenery.
Further north you have the opportunity to taste the infamous beverage that most people associate with Portugal – Port. I am bias as it one of my favourite drinks. A mixture of grapes gives this slightly sweet, incredibly strong wine its lovely taste. There are numerous vineyards open to travellers, so theres no excuse if you are in the region. A guided tour around this beautiful landscape wont disappoint.