A list of Portuguese Grape Varieties

Posted by: Marisa Leitão

Post Date 28-Feb-2020 18:33:43

In Portugal, the grape varietals range is easily above the 250 native varietals, most of which are territorially linked to Portugal for hundreds of years of natural selection. Here's a list of the Portuguese Grape Varieties and its characteristics.

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The Portuguese winemaking heritage is strongly rooted in the country's identity from North to South. 

All the wine countries inherited a whole different universe of native grape varietals, some countries thou decide to reduce that spectrum and even import international varietals to make its wines easy to be categorized and to fit into the consumer's mass taste and demand.

In Portugal, the grape varietals range is easily above the 250 native varietals, most of which are territorially linked to Portugal for hundreds of years of natural selection.

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The internationally renowned Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, even the (nowadays) widely used Syrah, are recent additions to the Portuguese winemaking.

Did you know that in the USA about 82% of the wine comes from less than 10 grape varietals? And why is that?

Well, the obvious reason is globalization. People tend to feel more comfortable buying familiar and simple wines rather than those made out of obscure varietals. 

This global uniformization, make wines simple to taste and understand, and ultimately that means more sales. 

Enjoy the delightful wines produced by these grapes on a wine and food tour by wine tourism in Portugal.

In Portugal, the majority of the wines produced are still based on the native grape varietals like:

White Portuguese Grapes

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Encruzado: alcoholic white grape from the Dão.

Malvasia Fina: aromatic white used all over Portugal including white port

Moscatel de Setúbal: originally introduced by the Romans, in Península de Setúbal, makes light summery wines;

Sercial: main grape used in Madeira fortified wines;

Verdelho: a noble white varietals of Madeira. Australia is growing this Portuguese varietal too;

Alvarinho: grown in Northern Portugal and used for Vinho Verde, high quality. 

Red Portuguese Grapes

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Bastardo: – literally: "bastard". This grape is grown in the Douro and Dão;

Tinta Barroca: Now grown in South africa, this ancient grape varietal, grown in the Douro for hundreds of years is one of the blender grapes for most of the Port Wines;

Aragonês: In Portugal it is used widely in Port and still reds in the Alentejo table wines;

Tinto Cão: Douro grape also being used to make high quality still red wines;

Touriga Nacional:  One of the main and best grapes grown in Portugal. Mainly in Douro Valley for port wines;

Trincadeira Preta: also called Castelão Francês;

Vinhão (Souzão Douro Valley): from Vinho Verde and Minho regions.

Why is it called Vinho Verde?

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Topics:   Portugal wine tasting

Marisa Leitão

Written by: Marisa Leitão

Marisa has been working on Digital Marketing and Advertising for the past years. Born in Lisbon and hopelessly in love with Porto, she knows the trendy places and the hidden-gems of both. Ask her about Portuguese heritage and curiosities, she knows some funny facts that you will enjoy to uncover.

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