What wine varieties is Portugal known for?
With over 250 different grape varieties growing throughout the country -- many of which are native only to Portugal -- Portuguese wines range from hearty reds to crisp whites to fizzy sparkling wines. But here are some of the top wine varieties and grape varieties you'll learn about and taste during your wine-tasting travels.
Considered the country's flagship grape, touriga nacional is Portugal's most famous red wine grape variety. Think of it as the pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon of Portugal; it is the stand-out red wine grape. Commonly used in the production of port but also used in table wines and red blends, this grape makes bold, concentrated, and complex wines with intense aromas of dark fruits, floral notes, and hints of spice. You'll get to taste plenty of this variety in the Douro and Dão regions.
Vinho Verde Varieties
Although Portugal's hot climate produces stellar red wines, white wine grape varieties like alvarinho (known as Albariño in Spain), loureiro, and trajadura thrive in cool, northern climes like the Vinho Verde region. These varieties contribute to the crisp acidity and aromatic character of Vinho Verde wines, which are often light-bodied and have flavors of citrus, green apple, and floral notes.
Another important grape variety in Portugal, Touriga Franca is widely used in the production of port wines by being blended with touriga nacional and other grape varieties.
A white grape variety, the highly acidic and versatile arinto thrives in several Portuguese regions, including Vinho Verde, Bucelas, and the Lisbon region. Arinto wines are typically crisp and refreshing, exhibiting flavors of citrus, green apple, and sometimes mineral notes.
Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo)
Widely planted throughout Portugal, especially in the Douro and Dão regions, the red wine grape tinta roriz is one of the main grapes used in the production of port wines. Wines made from this grape are often medium to full-bodied, with flavors of red and black fruits, spice, and moderate tannins.