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Beyond Port Wine

Land of the famous Port wine, Douro is also producing world class dry reds, whites and rosés due to the talent of the local winemakers that have learned through times to bring out the best of a unique region recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage.

Located in the northeast of the country surrounded by mountain ranges, the famous terraced vineyards along the Douro River are a result of the human effort in producing quality wine under very challenging conditions. The schist soil increases even more the producer’s difficulties, but it is also a key element in providing the sugar and colour concentrated musts that origin the distinct taste and aroma of the region’s wine.

For centuries, Douro growers have been focused in producing highly acclaimed fortified Ports, but in recent years, the region is also being recognized for its red and white wines. This is the reason why two individual DOCs are located in the same area: Port and Douro’s unfortified wines.

The red wines – produced from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Barroca – are typically robust and full-bodied, often spending time aging in oak. On the other hand, in white wines, you’ll find Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Rabigato and Viosinho varieties of grapes.

Rebelo boat for Port wine

The rabelo boat, a cargo vessel used for people and goods transportation along Douro River.

Douro Sub-regions

The sub-regions of Douro are divided in Baixo Corgo at West, Douro Superior at East and CimaCorgo in the centre, all of them with distinct altitude and sun exposure:

– Baixo Corgo (west) is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean with higher precipitation and moist that helps to fertilize the soil and create the perfect environment to produce not only Port but also table wines;

– In Cima Corgo (centre), where the weather can be described as Mediterranean, grapes have higher sugar concentration, perfect for the vintage production;

– In DouroSuperior (east) the summers are extremely hot and contribute to the production of fortified Moscatel, sparkling and white wines (mainly in highlands);

by Francisco Sobral, Wine Curator