Portuguese red wines are made in a number of styles and from a number of indigenous and international grape varieties. Some of the most important regions include Alentejo, Bairrada, Dão and Douro.
There are at least 248 indigenous grape varieties in Portugal. Red grapes account for about two-thirds of all grapes cultivated in Portugal, though many are destined for use in fortified Port wines. Among the native red-grape varieties, Touriga Nacional is perhaps the best known. Others include Tinta Roriz (better known as Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Baga, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet.
International grape varieties are increasingly cultivated, too. Among the most common are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah.
Portugal has a multitude of winegrowing regions, across two appellation systems, Denominção de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Vinho Regional (VR). DOC is the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) level, and VR is the second tier, equivalent to the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
DOC areas have stricter regulations for winemaking methods and the grape varieties that can be grown, and should therefore—in theory—represent higher quality wines.
The most prominent red wine-producing regions in Portugal include:
Alentejo: While the Alentejo region may be best known for producing corks, it also produces quality red wines. Alentejo reds are produced at both DOC and VR levels. Some producers of high-quality wines deliberately choose to label their wines as VR Alentejano, as the rules and regulations are less restrictive. The key grapes used here are Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Castelão. Alentejo reds tend to be rich and full bodied.
Bairrada: Bairrada is an important DOC area for Portuguese red wine. The key grape variety here is the indigenous Baga, though producers can also use other more popular varieties including Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Bairrada reds are robust, tannic and hearty.
Dão: This hilly region produces some of the most elegant red wines in all of Portugal, from grapes like Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen (also known as Mencía) and Alfrocheiro. Dão reds are perfumed and intense, and a lot less tannic and austere than they once were, historically.
Douro: The Douro Valley is best known as the home of fortified Port wine, though significant amounts of quality dry-red-table wine are also produced today. Important grape varieties here are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão, among others. Douro reds are some of Portugal’s most robust and full bodied.
To learn more about different Portuguese reds, we invite you to browse through our database below. There you’ll find more articles on the topic, and an online Buying Guide to help locate the perfect bottle of red for your next occasion.
Tiedemann 2008 Tinta Cão (Amador County)Sierra FoothillsSweet, velvet-textured and chocolaty, this full-fledged dessert wine made from Iberian grape ...See Full Review$36
Eagle Ridge NV Mad Lyn Souzao (Livermore Valley)Central CoastWell packed with fruit flavors and firm in structure, this moderately sweet ...See Full Review$29
Quinta de Foz de Arouce 2015 Vinhas Velhas de Santa Maria Baga (Beira Atlantico)PortugalProduced from old Baga vines, this is an immensely powerful and impressive ...See Full Review$70
Caves Velhas 2016 Cabeça de Toiro Reserva Red (Tejo)PortugalA big, bold and juicy wine, this is rich with both tannins ...See Full Review$17
J. Portugal Ramos 2017 Marquês de Borba Vinhas Velhas Red (Alentejo)PortugalThis popular Portuguese brand's old vines come from selected vineyards. The result ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$20
Falua 2016 Reserva Unoaked Touriga Nacional (Tejo)PortugalStill with some firm tannins, this wine has structure and concentration. The ...See Full Review$50
Colinas do Douro 2016 Barquinha Reserva Red (Douro)PortugalFrom a selection of old vines, this rich, wood-aged wine is striated ...See Full Review$15
Bacalhôa Wines of Portugal 2015 Quinta do Carmo Red (Alentejano)PortugalThe ancient aristocratic estate of Carmo in the heart of the Alentejo ...See Full Review$22
Falua 2016 Conde Vimioso Sommelier Edition Red (Tejo)PortugalThis is a powerful wine, rich in tannins and with big black-fruit ...See Full Review$30
Aphros 2015 Silenus Vinhão (Vinho Verde)PortugalProduced from foot treading in open lagars, the wine was oak aged ...See Full Review$23
J. Portugal Ramos 2017 Ramos Reserva Selected Blend Red (Alentejano)PortugalRich and full of both tannins and black fruit, this is a ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
Quinta da Lapa 2015 Reserva Red (Tejo)PortugalThis is a dense, finely textured wine. Its rich tannins and coherent ...See Full Review$27
Global Wines 2016 Cabriz Touriga Nacional (Dão)PortugalThis pure Touriga Nacional from its home region is firm with tannins, ...See Full Review$18
Quinta do Casal Monteiro 2017 Clavis Aurea Reserva Red (Tejo)PortugalAn all-Douro grape blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, ...See Full Review$20
Vicente Faria Vinhos 2015 Vicente Red (Douro)PortugalThis structured wine from the Douro, shows plenty of the typical tannins ...See Full Review$40
Cortes de Cima 2015 Red (Alentejano)PortugalThis is a dense wine, rich in ripe tannins and smoothly textured ...See Full Review$22
Caves Velhas 2015 Casaleiro Reserva Red (Tejo)PortugalA full, rich blend of Syrah, Castelão and Touriga Nacional, this is ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Vicente Faria Vinhos 2018 Gloria Reserva Red (Douro)PortugalThis perfumed wine is ripe and structured, with hints of wood aging. ...See Full Review$17
Global Wines 2016 Cabriz Red (Dão)PortugalProduced from organically grown grapes, the wine is a blend of Touriga ...Best BuySee Full Review$11
Santos & Seixo 2017 Santos da Casa Duquesa Maria Superior Red (Alentejano)PortugalThis is a fine ripe wine that is full of black fruits ...See Full Review$19
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