Wine production up

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The Institute of Wines and Vineyards (IVV) reports that wine production in Portugal has increased by 10% for the 2023-2024 grape year. The regions of Azores, Lisbon, Bairrada, and Trás-os-Montes have shown a remarkable growth of up to 20%. The total production of wine was 7.5 million hectolitres.

Red wine accounted for 59.6% of the production. Portuguese reds are becoming increasingly popular, making this increase in production even more necessary. These wines are rich, full-bodied, and made from sweet grapes that ripen easily in the hot Alentejo summers. They are a blend of grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah and Touriga Nacional. They are relatively low in tannin, and their prices vary. However, all of them are rich, round, and full-bodied, with some being even richer, darker, and oak-aged, depending on the price. Other rich, ripe-styled reds can also come from the Tejo or the upper reaches of the Douro.

The Douro Valley is the most reliable source for robust reds. Tannic, big and with their unique flavour, top Douro reds are often made with a mix of grapes, “vineyard blends” where old mixed variety vines are planted together. These wines age and develop well, their tannins softening, their fruit mellowing. The mountainous wine region north of the Douro Valley is Trás-os-Montes, growing the same grapes and making big, robust reds. There is also Bairrada, made from the traditional Baga grape – it is full-bodied and high in acid and tannin.

The Dão region in Portugal is known for producing some of the most elegant red wines in the country. The region's granite soils and cool climate result in a slow ripening of the grapes, which grow at high altitudes. The reds are made by blending fine-quality Touriga Nacional with Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, and other grapes, which create intensely flavoured and aromatic wines.

Palmela, located on the Península de Setúbal, is another region famous for its elegant red wines. The wines are made using the Castelão grape, which is difficult to cultivate elsewhere but grows well in the sandy soils of the Setúbal Peninsula. The grape produces wines with a similar taste to a mature Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Published in: Guide to Portugal / Miscellaneous / Portuguese Life