Plundering the Cellars: Your Guide to Discovering Portugal by Wine

Portugal’s rich culinary legacy, storied history and age-old traditions are knitted together by its full-bodied viniculture. Embarking on well-curated wine excursions, tastings and tours will help you tap into regional customs, introduce you to local delicacies and teach you treasured wine-cultivating pastimes. Let leading experts Portugal by Wine plan your perfect itinerary, giving you the chance to delve deeper into the country’s extensive wine and gastronomic offering.

Quinta da Aveleda

Wine is the Key

Exploring Portugal’s wine culture is the key to understanding its traditions, history and culture. Each wine region in Portugal has its own unique customs, cuisine and grape varieties and Portugal by Wine offers an unrivalled variety of tours, trips and tastings to suit any traveller, time frame and budget – from snapshot one-hour tasting tours to four-hour in-depth journeys into traditional villages, or even seven-day getaways that tour the country. Accompany knowledgeable sommeliers across vineyards before tucking in to a feast of local charcuterie and indulging in fine vintage tastings. Consider taking part in a cookery course in Alentejo, hop aboard 4x4 jeeps for tours of dairy farms and enjoy gourmet ‘Pico-nics’ on Pico Island, where the white, red and rosé wines are a treasured export of the Azores archipelago. Channel your knowledge and make your own wine with a wine laboratory and expert producers on hand to help you create your own prize plonk according to your grape preferences. You’ll create your customised batch wine with the Serra da Estrela landscapes as your background. Linger a little longer and combine fun-filled days with a stay in a wine hotel. Wake up to the serene sight of olive groves and vineyards, talk to award-winning wine producers over breakfast and enjoy intimate tastings. You’ll also be able to squeeze more into your trip by tacking a few extra days on.

Foie Gras Alentejano Torre de Palma

Gastronomic Delights

Sampling wine without food (and vice versa) is like visiting the Jerónimos Monastery without scoffing two (or three) pastéis de natas. Elevate your wine-tasting experience with the expert food pairings unique to each region. When sipping sparkling wine in Bairrada, be sure to try the famous Mealhada suckling pig roasted in a wood-fired oven. In the northernmost part of the country, the green fields of Vinho Verde are home to the famous Alvarinho. The white wine’s distinct citrus flavour is best enjoyed with sarrabulho, a dish made of chicken, pork and veal and thickened with wheat. In the Dão-Lafões region, the vineyards are scattered between soaring mountains and valleys, with a microclimate that’s superb for wine production. Most of the vineyards can be traced back to the Cistercian monks in the Middle Ages and many of the tastings are paired with Serra da Estrela sheep’s cheese and dry-cured ham native to the region. Portugal by Wine can help you pick the finest gastronomic experiences to suit your taste buds.

Douro à vela

Discovering the Douro

One of the most famous wine regions in Portugal, the Douro Valley is home to the national Port wines and has been a centre of wine production for over 2,000 years. Surrounded by the Marão and Montemuro mountains that stretch from the Spanish border to the city of Porto, the Douro is characterised by its beauty – vineyards and walled terraces scale the steep riversides giving the landscape distinctive ridges. From afar, the hills look like a series of amphitheatres. Unesco classified the region as a World Heritage site in 2001 because it is the only place in the world to practise hot climate hillside viticulture, which leads to a higher concentration of sugar in the grapes. Discovering the traditions surrounding this unique grape variety is highly recommended.

Porto is the gateway city into the region and an ideal launching-off point to begin The Port Wine Route, which can be completed by car, train or boat. For those suited to slow travel, the Douro Valley steam train traverses the stunning landscapes between Régua and Tua. Alternatively, if your trip coincides with the autumn harvest, celebrate by joining in with the cutting of the grapes, transporting them to the mill and stomping on them in your best I Love Lucy fashion.

For exceptional food and wine getaways, wine tastings, tours and cruises, or for individual itineraries, visit Portugal by Wine.

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