Douro wine region is one of the most famous Portuguese wine regions, and all due to the Port wine, which is renowned worldwide and is perhaps the most popular of them all. However, you can find other amazing wines in this region. It owes its name to the River Douro that flows all through the region and it is an essential part of Port Wine production.
It is located in the northeast of Portugal and surrounded by Marão and Montemuro mountains. Producers take advantage of its great water supply, planting in the basin Douro and its affluents Tua and Corgo. Although it is rich in water, the region has very poor soils and steep slopes of schist which makes it very hard to work with. But it also has its positives, it allows longevity of the vines as well as musts with more colour and sugar concentration. Again, the Portuguese created ways to solve these challenges with the creation of terraces. These created a magnificent landscape, visited by millions every year. In 2001 it was even recognised as World Heritage by UNESCO.
It is sub-divided in 3 sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. Each one of them presents its own characteristics and climate, that will influence the wines produced there. Baixo Corgo for example suffers from some Atlantic influences with higher levels of moisture and precipitation. This helps fertilise the soils. Baixo Corgo presents a Mediterranean type climate whilst Douro Superior can get desert-like temperatures in Summer.
Once again, Douro Region has a great variety of white and red grape varieties. The varieties considered most adequate to this region are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Franca, Tinto Cão e Aragonez (which in this region is called Tinta Roriz); however, there are also other varieties produced in the region such as Rufete, Trincadeira, Vinhão. In the white varieties produced in this region, you will find Cercial, Malvásia Fina, Moscatel, Rabo de Ovelha, Síria, Verdelho, Viosio.
The Port Wine
Port Wine is produced in the arid slopes along the river. It was believed the best sub-region to produce Port was Baixo Corgo, however, it was found that Pinhão, a town in the sub-region of Cima Corgo produced grapes with higher sugar concentration, which makes it perfect for Port Wine production. The wine is then transported in barrels to the cellars in Porto. The vessels used in this transport are called “Rebelos”. Today they are also a tourist attraction and you can go on a tour on one of these vessels.
The region also produces amazing table wines, sparkling wines and Moscatel. Moscatel, White wines and sparkling wines usually come from the higher sub-regions of Cima Corgo and Douro Superior, while Table Wines prefer cooler slopes of Baixo Corgo.
The variety of wines produced in this region mean you can have a full meal just on wines from the Douro. Certainly not to miss.