Portugal and Some of Its Indigenous Grapes

Portugal and Some of Its Indigenous Grapes

Portugal is home to over 250 native grape varieties. These are referred to as “Autochthonous Grapes,” since they are indigenous to the place where they are found. Most of the grapes found in Portugal are not found or planted in other regions of the world.

This week, City Vino, takes you to Portugal with three wines made solely from autochthonous grapes, like Padeiro, Moreto, Castelão, Trincadeira, Jaen, Touriga Nacional, and Alfrocheiro. If you’ve had Port wines, you’ve probably had wines made from Padeiro (also known as Tina Cão), and Touriga Nacional, as they are both used in the production of Port wines, and are even blended together. Wines made from the other listed grapes are definitely harder to find, but we have selected some to share with you.

The first wine is the Quinta da Raza Dom Diogo Padeiro Rosé 2019, which is a dry rosé, and is made from 100 percent Padeiro. Padeiro is a red Portuguese grape variety that is also known as Tinta Cão, and it is often found blended in with other grapes in Port wine. The wine is made from grapes from the winery’s estate, only, and the vineyard follows sustainable farming practices, using natural and non-synthetic treatments, only. This rosé is bursting with fresh berries, cherries, and even grape. The wine is bright and zippy, with a light effervescence, which the region of Vinho Verde is known for. This wine is a beautiful aperitif to server before a meal, or just sitting on the porch or deck. For food pairings, we suggest serving this wine with salads, seafood, poultry, or even pasta with a tomato-based sauce.

The next wine is the Esporão Alandra Tinto Alentejo Portugal 2019. This red wine is a blend made from the Castelão, Moreto, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, and Syrah grapes. The grapes, except for the Syrah, are all autochthonous grapes from Portugal. The Alandra has beautiful aromas of fresh raspberries and cherries, along with light floral and herbal notes. On the palate, the wine has a bright fruitiness with a nice texture and delicate tannins.

The final wine of our Portuguese trio is the M.O.B. Vinha Senna Red Dao DOC Portugal 2015, which is a blend of Jaen, Touriga Nacional, and Alfrocheiro grapes from the Dão region. The M.O.B. on the wine label refers to the first initial of the last name of the three winemakers involved in the joint venture of producing this wine, which is their attempt to produce a wine that represents the region in its truest form. The winemakers are Jorge Moreira, of Poeira; Francisco Olazabal, from Quinta do Vale Meão; and Jorge Serôdio Borges, of Quinta do Passadouro and Wine & Soul. The wine that they have produced is purplish-violet in color, with deep aromas of black fruit, bergamot orange (think the aroma of Earl Grey tea), and wildflowers. The wine was aged 18 months in French oak barrels (30 percent new, and 70 percent used), and has bright acidity and flavors of black fruit, baking spices, and cacao. Traditionally, this wine would be served with heavier dishes, made with bacalhau (salt cod). This wine will pair perfectly with grilled meats.

While our physical travels are restricted these days, we can travel via our glass. Join us this week in Portugal. 

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