Many Americans fall into the “casual wine drinker” category – we like wine, there are a couple types we usually stick to and we don’t necessarily try to branch out. Seriously, who has time to be a master sommelier? However, we do think casual wine drinkers still have some room to expand without feeling like they have to study up and become wine aficionados. Even if you don’t drink wine regularly, it’s important that you know what’s out there and what it tastes like so you can make an informed decision and enjoy a great glass of vino.
That being said, we’d like to introduce you to wine from Portugal.
Portugal has been in the game for a long time; they started exporting their wines to Rome during the Roman Empire and really grew when they began to export to England in the early 1700s. They have some amazing grape varieties that you have probably never heard of before, but they are instrumental in producing fantastic wine. Here are some of the main wine styles you’ll find coming out of Portugal:
White wine: A unique style of white wine with low alcohol and high, fresh acidity is Vinho Verde. It typically comes out of the cool, hilly, verdant north west of Portugal and can be made from many different grape varieties blended together.
Red wine: Summers in Alentejo are very hot, which means the grapes ripen easily and create rich flavor with lots of body. Alentejo red wines are made from many different grape variety blends, like Trincadeira and Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah, or Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon.
You’ll also find many types of Rose, Sparkling Wine, Port Wine, Madeira and Moscatel. For more information about them and foods they pair well with, check out the Wines of Portugal website.
The bottom line is that Portugal has lots of different wine growing regions with unique characteristics, but most love to blend grape varieties. The next time you’re at the wine shop, grab a bottle of Portuguese wine and appreciate all of the different flavors.