In southern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain, Portugal is a vibrant and colourful country brimming with culture from tip to toe. One such aspect ingrained in their rich history for centuries is winemaking, dating back as far as 2000 BC to the Tertessian era, its viticultural roots run deep. From the breathtaking views of the Douro Valley to the sun-kissed coast of the Algarve, the country stretches long and thin, therefore subject to very different climatic influences from region to region: Mediterranean, Continental, and Atlantic. Eleven wine regions make up the mainland’s wine offering: Vinho Verde, Tras-os-Montes, Douro, Dão, Bairrada, Beira Interior, Tejo, Lisboa, Alentejo, Algarve, and Setúbal.

The most famous of Portugal’s wine regions, known for its fortified wine production, is the Douro, and the star of the show is Port. The lusciously sweet wine that graces our tables at dessert time, with serious depth of flavour, concentrated dried fruit, often accompanied by caramel, nutty notes, and chocolate. Port is made by adding distilled grape spirit (usually brandy) during the fermentation process of still wine, stopping the ferment before all the sugar has converted to alcohol, maintaining the grape's natural sweetness. Only fortified wines produced in the Douro can be named Port, and all grapes that make up the wine must be cultivated and processed in the region. Beyond Port, the Douro’s dynamic landscape gives way to making world-class non-fortified wines too, mostly from local indigenous varieties such as Arinto, Rabigato, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Sousão, and Tinta Roriz. The Douro’s white wines boast vibrancy and freshness, stone fruit, citrus, and distinct minerality. The reds are praised for their fruit-rich profiles, black cherry, plum, and berry fruit, smooth palates, often earthy tones, and spiced edges.

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