The Best Pairing of Wine with Portuguese Cuisine

Posted by: Harold Camaya

Post Date 17-Jan-2020 14:00:00

The Best Pairing of Wine with Portuguese Cuisine

Food is a tradition that represents a region's luxurious or straightforward lifestyle. In Portugal, the menu is quite diverse, which brings about versatility in their cultural practices from one part to the other. In the mountain areas, finding boar-based meat served with local vegetables is not strange but usual. At the coastal lines, you can expect a wide range of varieties ranging from cod, which is quite common to sardines and octopus. 

The most magical thing about Portuguese-based foods is the wine pairings that come with each dish. These are not only spectacular, but they also radiate, and the mix and match of tastes are out of this world at every juncture. For a newcomer, it isn't straightforward to discern what to include in your wine pairings. Here is a list to help you pair your wine with the right Portuguese dish once you reach this picturesque and fulfilling destination. 


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Enjoying a sautéed piece of fish within the streets of Portugal is intriguing. According to different studies conducted on the consumption of fish and other seafood in Europe, Portugal turned out to hold the third position in seafood consumption per capita. Whether looking for a grilled salmon, or craving for a Cod or their popular Bacalhau. 

  • Bacalhau with Encruzado wine

Bacalhau is a cod-based meal that Portuguese boasts of having over 300 different ways in which to prepare it. The differences in each taste can have you going back for the same meal but on a separate plate and with varying flavors. The accompaniment includes mashed potatoes, fritters, vegetables, or even chickpeas, depending on your individual preferences. However, these do not matter as much as the wine pairing that this delicious meal attracts. 

This dish is highly salty with hints of acidity; thus, the accompanying wine is often medium-bodied. Red wines such as Encruzado from the Dao Region make a perfect match with this specific seafood. Being creamy and with matching tropical flavors, the wines stand out and complement the heaviness of the meal. It is a combination that you should try if you ever find yourself in the coastal region of Portugal.

  • Vinho Verde Alvarinho with Arroz de Tamboril

Even though cod is the most delicious and sought-after meal in the country, others still want variety in their daily meals. Therefore, Tamboril can make a perfect substitute. The popular way of preparing the dish is using garlic, tomatoes, rice, and laurel, which results in flaky but tasty fish pieces. The mix may also include other seafood, such as prawns. 

Vinho Verde Alvarinho is a delicate wine produced from the Moncao region, specifically in Vinho Verde. The grapes producing this great wine are high in their acid content. However, the power it holds matches quite well with the Tamboril. With such a pair, you enjoy the most classic of Portugal traditions, which is exhilarating. 

Red Meats 


Douro Red wine with boar stew 

Leaving the coast, let's go up the highlands where wild animals continuously roam the forest. Since hunting is a tradition that people in this region continue to brag about, it is fundamental to note that their foods are mostly composed of game meat. As a result, having a boar stew is a fairly common practice. Also, hunting is legal but comes with strict restrictions as per the traditions. Therefore, with a hearty meal and a perfect hunting sport, this potential destination has a lot to offer.

To tone down and match the varying pleasures of the game stew, having a bold and embodied type of wine is what the stew needs. The Douro wine accomplishes the task single-handedly due to its robust flavors. However, if you are not very fond of wine, you might also choose to accompany the meaty dish with Bacardi rum that works as well as the wine. It does not overshadow the meal but complements it at greater length. 

  • Sausages and the Baga Wine

Ever thought of snacking in between meals? Well, as a Portuguese practice, sausages are of high quality in comparison to other cured meats from various countries. Therefore, one needs something to accompany the fantastic freshness and the delicious hints that come with a fully prepared meal.

Baga is rich in its taste offerings. If unable to access the wine, you can also venture further and gather Pinot Noir or the Greek-based Ximamavro. The acidic elements will match the flavors in the cured meat, especially any sausage dish.

Sweet wine pairings


Individuals with sweet tooth are not left far behind with different wine pairings. You need to identify the best combination and add them to the refreshing meal. 

  • Queijo da Serra with Vintage Port 

The Queijo de Serra is a type of cheese that comes from the local Portuguese shepherds. The cheese is handmade, and its production occurs in the smallest quantities. The flavor is smoky, and the texture is smooth, making it easier and faster to spread. 

The savory dessert, when paired with the Vintage Port, demands the best of the flavors in a single setting. However, the wine can be too powerful for pairings with other forms of sweets or desserts. 

  • Bolo Rei or king cake with Moscatel de Setúbal

Bolo Rei is a cake that is popular during festivities, is one of the celebrated traditions in the country. This cake is designed to mimic a king's crown and has several fruits and nuts which induce different flavors in it. The crunchiness and the variety of taste each type of dried fruit brings out are unique. 

As a result, it requires a sweet wine with similar flavors to complement it rather than walking all over the cake. Moscatel de Setubal comes with tangy and fruity tastes making it the best match there is on the market. 


Portugal wines vary depending on the region from which they originate. However, what remains constant is the variety and the possible food pairings available with each dish. To pair it right, be sure you know the flavors your meal will have and pair with a similar wine so as not to outdo the other but complement. 


Topics:   Wine & Food Wine Regions

Harold Camaya

Written by: Harold Camaya

Harold Camaya Is an Interior Decorator and a passionate writer who loves to write about Wines, Travel and Lifestyle. He is keen to know about different tastes of wine and is an explorer. He focuses on sharing ideas and techniques learned from his experience as an Interior Decorator in a concise manner so that it can be used by everyone to make their surroundings beautiful to live in. Currently, He’s working With Best Roofing Company.

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