Lisbon, a wine region? Isn’t it Estremadura? In fact, this region used to be called Estremadura, just like the geographic region. It has a long history of wine production. However, until just over a decade ago, the wines produced in this region were not of the best quality. The region produced in great quantities but, unfortunately, the quality was not that great. After a huge restructuring of the vines and wine-producing process, the region was renamed and its wines are now known for being great value for money.
It is located in the northeast of Lisbon and it used to be called Estremadura. The climate is mild due to the Atlantic influences. Summers are cool and Winters are soft and mild, even though it can be a bit colder in the inland areas away from the sea. The diversity of its landscape and the presence of microclimates in certain areas, make it great for wine production. It is sub-divided into nine sub-regions: Encostas de Aire, Lourinhã, Óbidos, Torres Vedras, Alenquer, Arruda, Colares, Carcavelos and Bucelas. All of them have their Denomination of Origin label.
However, due to their proximity to Lisbon and the development of the urban areas, the once very important sub-regions of Colares, Carcavelos and Bucelas suffered a massive loss of production, as there was the extinction of a lot of vines. Today these sub-regions are almost only of historical interest. Bucelas still produces some white wines that are well appreciated abroad. Colares also produces some red wine but its production rarely reaches the 10,000 bottles.
The region is great for some native and international varieties. From the international varieties, you can find Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The native white varieties grown in this region are Arinto, Fernão Pires, Malvasia Fina, Rabo de Ovelha. The red native varieties are Aragonez, Castelão, Ramisco, Trincadeira and the famous Touriga Nacional. Sometimes you will find Tinta Miúda planted with Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Franca and international varieties. This happens mainly in the sub-regions of Óbidos, Arruda, Torres Vedras and Alenquer.
The sub-regions of Óbidos, Arruda, Torres Vedras and Alenquer were the ones that received more funding for development and modernisation. However, Alenquer is the one that produces the prestigious ones. Its Atlantic influences favour the maturation of the vines and the result is a more concentrated wine. In other sub-regions, you will find aromatic reds, elegant and rich in tannins that can be aged in bottle for years. The whites are fresh and present a delicious citrus character.