Portugal Wine Tasting Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Portugal wine tasting tours are a wonderful way to spend a week or two, especially when you're in good company. Ever since the Phoenicians, keen eyes have always looked toward this westernmost European country with its rich and lengthy fishing coast, temperate climate, and rich soils. The country is rich in vineyards and a variety of fine wines from North to South.

Portugal Wine Tasting Tours: the Variety

Madeira and port, while the most renowned, are by no means the extent of Portuguese wines, though they are the logical beginning of any Portugal wine tasting tours. The Madeira islands, only two of which are inhabited, lie about 600 miles off Portugal's southwest coast. Its wine--whether sweet (Malvasia), dry (Sercial), or semi-dry (Verdelho or Boal)--is fruity and refined. All varieties do especially well as either appetizer or dessert wines.

Port--with an alcohol content ranging from 19 to 22 percent--is classified by grape type, sugar content, added alcohol, and the wood of the barrels. Tinto (red) is sweet, young, and red. Tinto aloirado is just as sweet, somewhat older, golden red, and very fruity. Aloirado (golden) is both semi-dry and sweet, older still, and especially fine. Aloirado claro is the most common of the ports, fully aged, paler, and otherwise varied.

You'll find four primary vintages in the north of Portugal wine tasting tours. Vinho Verde is light and bubbly, especially good with seafood. Douro wines are both red and white, fruity, and full of bouquet. Dao red wines are ruby colored, and good with game and cheeses. Dao whites are light, citrusy, refined, and aromatic. Vineyards of the Alentego region in central Portugal include the Borba, Alvito, Vidigueira, and Monsaraz. These concentrate more on white wines, but also produce excellent reds.

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