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Norte Wine Region

Home to the Prestigious Alto Douro Wine Region

The Alto Douro wine region, which is well-known to the world as the World Heritage Site is a sub-region of the Norte Region in Portugal.

We could say Alto Douro is the pride of the Norte Region, which is better known in the English language as North region.

Yes, this makes up the northern part of the country and is found to be a region of intense vegetation. With the capital city of Porto, the Norte is one of the five Mainland Portugal regions.

Although the Norte region has lots and lots for the tourists and visitors, the main attraction is found to be the world-famous Alto Douro region.

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Now, let’s see more about the wines from this region here…

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Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…

A Quick Look at the Norte Region

As a whole, this region is found to be 21,278 square kilometers in area and is found to have around 3,700,000 inhabitants at present.

This culturally varied region is found to be quite different from all the other cities and towns of Portugal as the other parts have more or less same culture.

The Norte’s regional cuisine was found to be the light wines and rich wines right from the ancient times. We can find rivers, vineyards, and fertile plots all over the Norte region.

The whole Norte region was divided into several sub-regions and Douro is one of them. The other sub-regions of Norte are:

  • Alto Trás-os-Montes
  • Ave
  • Cávado
  • Entre Douro e Vouga
  • Grande Porto
  • Minho-Lima
  • Tâmega

Douro DOC – the Pride of Norte Region

Douro DOC wines, which are the world-famous Portuguese wines, are being produced in the Alto Douro of Norte Region.

This region is found to be centered on the Douro River in the Alto Douro at a small distance upstream from Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal.

Yes, the famous Porto wines (port wines) are named after this metropolitan city as this is responsible for packaging, transport, as well as the export of these wines.

Wines of the Douro

The history of winemaking in the Douro can be dated back to the end of the Western Roman Empire, that is, in the third and fourth centuries.

It was during the 17th century that the region’s vineyards were expanded and the production of port wines was started.

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Port Wines

These are the fortified wines that are being produced exclusively in the Douro Valley and are found to have a typical sweet taste.

It is because of this reason; these wines are often called as dessert wines although these are available in dry and semi-dry forms.

The port wines that are produced using red grape varieties are more famous although white varieties are also available.

Most typically, the port wines are produced using the grape varieties that are cultivated and processed in the officially demarcated Douro region.

This demarcation was defined during the year 1756 itself and hence, the Douro became the world’s first wine region with an official demarcation.

The wines thus produced will then be fortified by adding a neutral grape spirit called as aguardente. This step would stop the fermentation and keep the residual sugar in the wine itself.
Also, this would increase the alcohol content of the wines.

Grapes Varieties in the Douro

The region has hundreds of grape varieties and most of them are found to be local to Portugal.

Among them, the major grape varieties are found to be the following:

  • Bastardo
  • Mourisco tinta
  • Tinta Amarela
  • Tinta Barroca
  • Tinta Cão
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Touriga Francesa
  • Touriga Nacional
  • Donzelinho Branco
  • Gouveio
  • Malvasia Fina
  • Rabigato
  • Viosinho

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Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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