A beginner’s guide to Portuguese wine

A beginner’s guide to Portuguese wine

Portugal makes some of the finest wines on the planet. But you might not know this because relatively little of it is exported compared to other big producers such as France and Spain. This isn’t just because they want to keep it all for themselves, but because much of it is made in small scale vineyards that don’t produce enough to sell. So here are a few clues as to what to look for.

The country is carved up into 14 wine regions, which are denoted as DOC, which control the geographical boundaries. You might also see the word quinta, which is the word for a small farm.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine


Vinho verde

This special type of ‘green’ wine is only from Portugal. They’re called green due to the region they come from rather than any colour. They’re low alcohol and light, perfect for hot days and drinking with fish dishes.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine


The river valley stretching from Porto into the heartland is a stunningly beautiful place famed for its steep vineyards. The reds are robust – it’s the same grapes that make port out of – with a few whites too.

The best A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine wine styles for your wedding image by Mat's Eye


With reds often compared to Burgundy, this another of the major wine regions. It enjoys a cooler climate, with ocean breezes providing an ideal balance for the wine.


This huge region known for rolling hills and cork trees is starting to generate a serious buzz. Ripe grapes mean big, full bodied wines, with both excellent reds and whites.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine


Probably the most famous of all the Portuguese wines, this fortified variety is rich and sweet, with a high alcohol content caused by the added brandy. Visit Porto and you can visit many of the port cellars lining the river banks.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine


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