Thank you to Andy Snow of Sunvil for this informative article and infographic. If you would like to find out more about Sunvil’s special holidays to Portugal and Madeira, please visit http://www.sunvil.co.uk/discovery/portugal.
Portuguese wine offers some of the most aromatic and delightful tastes that a wine aficionado can experience. Influenced greatly by ancient civilizations such as the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, the wines of Portugal today are as diverse as wines can get within the borders of a single country. The varying climate and soil conditions in the northern, central and southern regions of Portugal combine with the different breeds of grapes that are native to each region to create a diverse ecosystem of wine production.
I would like to share with you some information on the Madeira and Minho wine regions, since these are the two regions I know the best.
The Madeira wine region lies in the Madeira Islands, a collection of islands several hundred kilometres to the southwest of mainland Portugal. When people think of Madeira, they usually think of the fortified wine also known as Madeira that originated there. I am going to focus on the grapes grown in the region.
The Madeira region holds the highest DOC status in Portugal (DOC is Portugal and Europe’s wine regulatory system) to signify its status as Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions (QWpsr) under the European Union wine regulations. Madeira wine is classified traditionally into four types based upon the type of grape used in production. Characterized by almond flavor, high-toned color, and high acidity, Sercial has little residual sugar and is fermented nearly dry. Verdelho’s fermentation stops slightly earlier than Sercial, resulting in higher acidity and smoky tones. Increasing in sweetness is Bual, characterized by raisin flavor, dark color, and medium texture. The sweetest Madeira wine Malvasia, with a caramel flavor, dark color, and rich texture.
The Minho province of northern Portugal is home to the Vinho Verde wine region and its subsequent Vinho Verde wine. Produced from grapes that are low in sugar, Vinho Verde does not require an aging process due to its lack of sugar and traditional malolactic fermentation process. Light and fresh, Vinho Verde is available in red, white and rosé variants and is intended for consumption within one year of bottling. Slightly effervescent due to the fermentation process, Vinho Verde is the second most exported type of wine in Portugal.
I hope you enjoy my depiction of the wine regions of Portugal.