Portugal is known for being a maritime empire, rich with scenic, coastal views and a delicious gastronomy. In addition, the country has played a large role in the cultivation and production of both wine and port. The unique history of the region, combined with the truly intricate landscape and soil, make for an amazing array of wine options. However, the Douro Wine Region is considered one of the most underrated wine regions across Europe for both red and white wines!
Situated around the Douro river and lower valley areas, the region is protected from the sometimes harsh Atlantic winds, allowing the climate to be hot and dry in the summer while cold in the winter. Terraced vineyards are a staple in this region and give the rolling Valley hills an organized appearance. As in many vineyards, the differing soils determine which grapes are planted where. For example, areas with granite-based soils tend to be used for table wine production while schist-based soils in this region are used for Port production. When visiting the Douro, you will truly understand how viticulture has shaped the land and how it is very much part of the lifestyle of the people that live there.
A unique feature of the region is that in 2001 the Douro was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for having special cultural and physical significance. With this intended conservation for prosperity, the region has continued to blossom since. A little known fact is that vineyards in the Douro are classified by a rigorous rating system in which the better the vineyard site, the better the rating, and the better the perks for the winemakers. If your vineyard has a high score, you are granted access to produce more, meaning you can sell more. Scoring of the vineyards falls on a letter scale between A-F, yet very few of the vineyards, about 2.5%, have top ratings of A or B.
If you are interested in learning more about the intricate scoring system or how to plan a trip to the culturally rich Douro Region, contact us for recommendations and information!