Blog Image

Vinho Tinto Eternal Wine Book

The Eternal Winebook

This is my personal version of an eternal Book of Portuguese Wines. The book is eternal in the way that it never stays the same. Now and then new pages are added, or the old pages are rewritten, updated or corrected.

Dansk English

© 2016-2017 Vinho Tinto Eternal Wine Book

Carcavelos DOC

Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Sun, April 30, 2017 17:22:50

Dansk English

When going by train from Cais do Sodré in Lisbon to Cascais at the Atlantic Ocean one passes, among other stations one called Carcavelos. The city, which has given its name to the station, also named portugals smallest wine region, Carcavelos DOC, which includes the parishes of Carcavelos, Cascais and Oeiras. Winegrowing in the area dates back to the Romans, but became famous in the 18th century by the Marques de Pombal, who owned vineyards in the area. It was the Marques de Pombal, who rebuilt Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755, and who founded the worlds first wine region, port wine region in Douro. Although only grapes from the Douro region were allowed for port wine prduction, the Marques de Pombal made a special rule allowing his own grapes from Carcavelos to be used. Carcavelos has become famous for its red and white fortified wines, – the same type of wines produced in the port area, Madeira and Moscatel de Setúbal DO area. The area is situated close to the river Tagus Atlantic Estuary, why temperature fluctuations throughout the year are small. The area was defined as a DOC in the 1908.

The main permitted black grapes are Castelão and Preto Martinho, who must represent at least 75% in the red wines. For the green grapes are: Galego Dourado, Ratinho and Arinto that must at least be 75% of the grapes in the whites.

Carcavelos DOC is under pressured from urbanization thus sharing the fate of two other wine regions in the Lisboa region – Colares DOC and Bucelas DOC. The number of producers in the area has gradually decreased, and today there is only one manufacturer and one wine back. The wine is called Villa Oeiras (city Oeiras) and is a continuation of a wine named Conde de Oeiras (the Count of Oeiras). It is the City of Oeiras, which produces the wine, and since they did not wish to pay for the use of the Count title, they simply renamed the wine. The wine is made from three local grapes Arinto, Galego Dourado and Ratinho, and stored for 10 years in chestnut and oak barrels before sale.

We found Villa Oeiras Carcavelos DOC at Garrafeira Nacional in Lisbon, where they also had three other Carcavelos wines. The other three were aged between 15 and 30 years and cost up to a 100 Euro, so we chose the only wine is still produced, and paid 28 Euro.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.


Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Sat, April 01, 2017 08:26:58

Dansk English

Right in the middle of Portugal you find the geographical area of Ribatejo. Formerly, the wine region that occupies the same area, was also named Ribatejo. In 2009 it changed name to Tejo after Portugals largest river, which runs through the area. The Tejo region is bordered by the Lisboa region in the west, by the Península de Setúbal to the south, Alentejo to the south and in the east and Beiras in the north. Landscape-wise, Tejo is divided into three areas, each one with unique conditions. The area known as Campo or Lezíria, located on the Tejo banks and is very fertile. The vineyards in this area is often flooded. Further away from the river on its right side, you find the area called Bairro. The soil here is poor and in addition to wine also olives are grown here. The left bank of the Tejo is called the ​​Charneca. The soil here is dry and the climate is warmer than in other areas of the Tejo.

Vine has been cultivated in the Tejo region ever since the Phoenicians and the Romans ruled over what we now know as Portugal. Already when Portugal was declared a kingdom, wine from the area was exported to England. Yet it was not until 1989 that the wine region Ribatejo was demarcated (with six sub-regions). Approximately 10% of all Portuguese wine (mainly white wine) comes from the Tejo region and about 30% of the wine is exported.

In Tejo mainly the following black grapes are grown: Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Camarate, Carignan, Merlot, Periquita, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Muida, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. The following white varieties are the most common: Arinto, Chardonnay, Esgana Cão, Fernão Pires , Jampal, Malvasia Fina, Malvasia Rei, Sauvignon Blanc, Rabo de Ovelha, Tamarez, Ugni Blanc and Vital.

Denominação de origem Controlada (DOC)

10% of the wine from Tejo are referred to as DOC. Wines can also be classified with the name of the sub-region: Almeirim, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Santarém, Tomar. Red, white, and rosé wines may achieve the DOC classification when they meet the applicable requirements. The same applies to sparkling wines and fortified wines. One can still find wines classified as Ribatejo DOC.

Vinho Regional (VR)

90% of the wines from the Tejo region are classified as Vinho Regional. Red, white, and rosé wines can obtain the classification if they meet the applicable requirements. The classification system also includes light wines (vinhos leves), as well as gasified wines (vinhos frisantes).

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Península de Setúbal

Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Fri, March 31, 2017 13:05:24

Dansk English

To the north, the Sétubal wine region is bordered by the Tejo river, and in the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Évora region forms the border in the east and the Beja region in the south and east. Some of the best-known Portuguese wines originates from the area. Until 2009, the area was named Terras do Sado, as it is situated on both sides of the river Sado. Some vines are located 100 to 500 meters above sea level, while others are located in the low-lands near the Sado river.

It is believed that the grape came to the area with the Phoenicians and Greeks while the Romans and the Arabs developed the wine culture. Later, as Portugal emerged as a nation, the Franks developed the wine production, which still exists.

A part of the district – the Setúbal peninsula – is the home of two overlapping classifications of origin: Palmela DO (table wine) and the Muscatel de Setúbal DO (fortified wine).

Palmela DO

The area, which includes the peninsula of Setúbal, was regulated as late as in 1989. Castelão is the icon of viniculture in the area. Two thirds of Castelão vines in Portugal are grown in this area.

Moscatel de Setúbal DO

The geographical area of this classification is identical to Palmela DO, and it was regulated in 1907. Only fortified wines made from the Moscatel grape, can achieve the classification. There are two types of Moscatel de Setúbal DO: a white, which must at least contain 67% Moscatel de Setúbal and a red, which should at least contain 85% Moscatel Roxo.

Península de Setúbal Vinho Regional

Red, white and rose wines from all over the area formerly named Terras do Sado, qualify as a Península de Setúbal Vinho Regional wine, provided they meet the local requirements. One may still encounter bottles labelled as Terras do Sado Vinho Regional.

The most important black grapes in the area are Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Castelão, Trincadeira, Touriga Franca, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Green grapes are dominated by Fernão Pires, Moscatel de Setubal, Arinto, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho.

The vast majority of wine from the area – about 80% – are labelled as Vinho Regional. Twelve per cent are Palmela DOC and the last eight per cent are Moscatel de Setúbal. In Denmark, you will find most wine from the first two categories.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.


Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Sat, March 18, 2017 09:51:14

Dansk English

As far as we know, already during the Roman reign, wine for local consumption was produced in Tras-os-Montes, but it was not until 1989 that the boundaries of an actual wine region was drawn. On the same occasion rules for achieving the Tras-os-Montes DOC or Transmontano V.R. certifications were established.

The name “Tras-os-Montes” means “behind the mountains”. The area is situated in the north-eastern corner of Portugal adjacent to Spain, and to get there, you must past the serras of Marão and Alvão. The neighbouring wine regions are Douro and Minho to the west.

There are large differences between summer and winter temperatures in Trás-os-Montes. In summer, it is dry and hot, while in winter the temperatures sometimes drop below the zero.

Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC)

Red, white and rosé wines as well as sparkling wines from the area can obtain the designation Tras-os-Montes DOC. Three sub-regions are named Chaves DOC, Valpaços DOC and Planalto Mirandes DOC. In all regions, wines fulfilling specific rules for the included grapes and for cultivation can achieve the DOC designation.

Vinho Regional (V.R.)

Red, white and rose wines from all over the area may be classified Transmontano V.R. if they meet the local requirements for included grapes and cultivation.

It is rare that one finds wines from Trás-os-Montes in Denmark, but I have succeded:

Valle Pradinhos

Porta Velha

Valle Pradinhos Reserva Red

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Bucelas DOC

Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Fri, March 17, 2017 09:12:13

Dansk English

Bucelas DOC, an integrated part of the Lisboa wine region, was established in 1911, and is located at the river Trancão 25 km north of Lisbon. The region includes the parishes of Bucelas, Fanhões and Santo Antão do Tojal. The winters are relatively cold in the area, while temperatures in summer are moderate. 75% percent of the grapes in Bucellas wines must be Arinto and only Esgana-Cão and Rabo de Ovelha-grapes are besides Arinto allowed for the production of wines designated as Bucelas DOC. Only whites can achieve the designation.

It is believed, that vineyards existed in Bucelas already when the area was part of the Roman Empire. The wines were very popular in England, where they were imported in large quantities.

The classic Bucelas wines are citrus colored, have a fruity flavor and the acidity, typical for Arinto. The wines are light and dry with an alcohol content between 11 and 11.5%.

There are only a few producers of Bucelas wines today, but I was recently lucky enough to find a bottle from the long time wine producer, Caves Velhas, which is one of the largest manufacturers of Bucelas DOC wines.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.


Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Fri, March 10, 2017 15:04:12

Dansk English

On the map above, the relative distance between the Azores islands is shortened. Islands marked in red have commercial viticulture.

Azores is situated about 1600 km from mainland Portugal. The archipelago, which like Madeira is an autonomous region in Portugal, is made up of the islands of São Miguel, Pico, Terceira, São Jorge, Faial, Flores, Santa Maria, Graciosa and Corvo. In four of the islands – Terceira, Pico, Graciosa and São Miguel – commercial wine production takes place. The islands are located where the from European, African and American continental tectonic plates meet, and there has been volcanic activity in the area, why the land in many places is characterized by lava formations.

Shortly after the islands’ discovery, Henry the Navigator sent people to Crete to collect vines that would be able to adjust to the climatic conditions on Madeira and the Azores. Because of the proximity of the sea, the vines in the Azores were shielded by “currais” – small areas enclosed by stone walls for protection against the wind. This cultivation system is still used. Fortified wines were produced for the large sailing ships, when en route to the New World.

From the start of the 16th century, monks were devoted to the production of wine exported to Brazil, England and Russia. Exports stopped abruptly when the wine plague spread on the Azores around 1870. American grape varieties, which were resistant to the plague were planted in place of the destroyed European vines. The American vines were of poor quality, and therefore the wine, called Vinho de Cheiro, could not be exported. Vinho de Cheiro is still produced and consumed by the locals – especially at the islands’ many fiestas.

In recent times, high quality wine production has been restored. In the 1990s fine table wines were produced on the Azores, and simultaneously wine regions were demarcated. From these regions, Biscoitos DOC, Graciosa DOC and Pico DOC wines are produced. Wines from all over the Azores may be classified as Vinho Regional Açores if they meet the related requirements.

The Azores are especially known for white wines, and some of these wines have achieved almost cult status in continental Portugal. They whites are produced from the grapes Verdelho, Arinto dos Açores and Terrantez do Pico, which are Azorean varieties. Some of the grapes has been close to disappearing, but there is now put a lot of work in preserving the endangered grape varieties. Also, red and rosé wines are produced and labelled as Vinho Regional Açores or Vinho de Mesa.

Denominação de Origem Protegida (DOP) and Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC)


In 2004, UNESCO declared the vineyards of Pico part of the cultural world heritage. On the characteristic small square fields, which is fenced in by walls of lava stone, the recommended Azorean grapes Verdelho, Arinto and Terrantez and a number of other permitted grapes from Madeira or elsewhere in Portugal are grown.

In three coastal areas on Pico, fortified wines (vinhos licorosos) produced from the permitted grapes, may achieve the Pico DOP classification (Denominação de Origem Protegida, – protected designation of origin). Table wines and champagne types are also produced from the same grapes, and they can achieve the Pico DOC classification (Denominação de Origem Controlada controlled denomination of origin). In this case, at least 80% of the grapes must be Arinto dos Açores, Terrantez do Pico and Verdelho.


In most of Graciosa green grapes are grown in “currais” like on Pico. The classification Graciosa DOP can be assigned to white quality wines made from permitted grapes. The same grapes can be used for fortified wines and for champagne types classified as Graciosa DOC, but here, 80% of the grapes must be Arinto dos Açores, Terrantez do Pico or Verdelho.


The small wine region Biscoitos is locatedoIn the northern part of the island of Terceira. Here the cultivation of grapes takes place in the typical “currais”. The term Biscoitos DOP can be assigned to fortified wines from the area, which are made from the typical Azorean white grapes and a few others also known in the rest of Portugal. The term Biscoitos DOC can be awarded white wines and champagne types, but in this case, 80% of the grapes must be Arinto dos Açores, Terrantez do Pico and Verdelho.

Vinho Regional Açores

Since 2004, white and red quality wines produced outside the areas of Pico, Graciosa and Biscoitos from local Azorean grapes may be designated as Vinho Regional Açores, if they meet certain requirements. Since 2012, the same applies for rosé wines, fortified wines, brandy and champagne types. Alternatively, the designation IGP Açores (Indicação Geográfica Protegida – protected geographical indication) may be used.

These wines may be made from a variety of black and green grapes originating from the Azores, Portugal or from France.

Vinho de mesa

Wines that do not meet the requirements imposed to obtain VR or DOC designations are classified as Vinho de mesa.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.


Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Tue, March 07, 2017 10:31:40

Dansk English

Nobody knows when viticulture in Alentejo was introduced, and by whom. Possibly it was by an early culture in Andalusia named Tartessos. Phoenicians later arrived in the area followed by the Greeks. The major breakthrough for viticulture in Alentejo, however, came with the Romans. The Romans introduced fermentation in large clay pots that were up to two meters high accommodating up to 2,000 liters. This method has been used in Alentejo well into our time.

The Catholic Church needed communion wine, and therefore Christianity opened new markets for wine production, when it came to Portugal. The Arabs later took over control of the Iberia, and at first they allowed the locals to grow wine, but later wine consumption was restricted, and production decreased in Alentejo. It was only after the introduction of the Portuguese monarchy that wine-growing again flourished in the Alentejo. In the following years, it went back and forth for viticulture. In the 1950s, one of the first cooperatives started producing wine. The wine region of Alentejo was demarcated in the 1980s.

Today, Alentejo is one of the major regions in Portugal. Alentejo is limited in the north by Beiras, to the east by Spain and to the south by the Algarve. In the northeast, the region is limited by the Tagus river, in the west by the Peninsula de Setúbal and in the south-east by the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is marked by plains with small mountains. The summers are hot with high temperatures and irrigation is required.

Denominação de Origem Alentejo

Wine produced in the Alentejo subregions Borba, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Moura, Portalegre, Redondo, Reguengos and Vidigueira can achieve the designation Denominação de Origem Alentejo (DOC), when meeting certain requirements. The main grapes in the production of red DOC wines are Trincadeira, Aragonez, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet. For whites, particularly Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Arinto are used.

Vinho Regional Alentejano

Most wines produced in the Alentejo, holds the Vinho Regional Alentejano (VR) classification. Wines from all over Alentjeo can achieve this designation if they meet the requirements that are less strict than those requiered for the DOC wines. Examples of black grapes used for red VR wines are Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castelão, Syrah, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. Examples of green grapes are Antão Vaz, Arinto, Chardonnay, Fernão Pires and Roupeiro.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Colares – Europes westernmost Wine Region

Portuguese Wine Regions Posted on Sat, February 25, 2017 14:27:58

Dansk English

Colares is Portugals smallest DOC district. It is squeezed in between the Sintra mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Colares was declared a DOC region in 1908, but there are references to Colares wine as early as in 1255.

The production has declined, partly because more and more vineyards are purchased for building construction, and partly because the wine is not popular among modern wine drinkers.

The vines are grow in areas covered by sand. It has the advantage that phylloxera do not thrive in the sand, and therefore grafted vines were never used in Colares. On the other hand, it is necessary to dig meter deep holes in order to let the roots reach clay soil. To protect the vines from the wind from the sea, bamboo fences have been build. The wines are allegedly several hundred years old and still productive.

The red wines are produced on the Ramisco-grape and the whites on Malvasia de Colares. To achieve the designation Colares DOC, a wine must meet certain requirements. 90% of the grapes must be grown in sand and at least 80% of the grapes for the red wines must be Ramisco. 10% of the grapes may come from fields not consisting of sand, and of the grapes from those, at least 80% must be the Castelão grape. Fields that are not sandy are called Chão Rijo, which literally means “hard ground”. The red wines are typically ruby ​​red with a raw and harsh tasting flavor when the wine is young, while they after long storage achieve a soft flavor and a beautiful golden color.

In white wines, at least 80% of the grapes must be the Malvasia de Colares grown on sand and a maximum of 10% may be Malvasia grown on Chão Rijo. Typically, whites are citrus coloured with a fresh scent and fruity flavors that improv with age.

For both white and red wines apply, that they must be stored for many years (10-15 years) to be drinkable. Long-term storage and the resulting higher price may also be a cause for the fact that the wines have experienced a downturn. It seems that Colares wines are about to be popular once again in Portugal, and some new brands have been launched in recent years. I’ve never seen Colares wines for sale in Denmark.

I have purchased the following wines from Colares:

Arenæ Ramisco

Arenæ Malvasia

Viúva Gomes Ramisco

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Next »