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Portuguese Grape Varieties

The diversity of grape varieties in Portugal is incredible, especially considering the relatively small area under vine. There are over 250 native grape varieties, along with many international ones increasingly being vinified here, and very successfully too. The almost infinite choice of varietals along with the differentiating terrior results in fabulously versatile wines which are just getting better and better. Here we have included some of the main varieties that you are most likely to come across, as you will see some with very funny names…

Enjoy the delicious wines produced by these grapes on a Food & Wine Tour of Portugal


Red Portuguese Grapes

Alfrocheiro Preto: main grape in the Dao, rich in color

Aragonês: see Tinta Roriz

Alvarelhão: – Northwest of Portugal, mainly in the Douro Valley. Can also be found in Galicia (Spain)

Baga: – Main grape used for wines in Bairrada appellation, also used in Alentejo and Ribatejo. High-quality grape.

Bastardo: – funny named grape grown in the Douro, early ripening. Used in Dao extensively

Castelão Frances: – also see “Tricadeira Preta”. Called “Periquita” in the Setúbal Peninsula, from where it originates, and “Joao do Santarem”

Moreto: widely grown blender grape all over Portugal, not used in single varietal wines

Mourisco: small plantings in the Douro

Ramisco: – Main grape in Colares region, very tannic

Tinto Cão: Douro grape also being used to make high quality still red wines

Tinta Amarela: grown in the Douro, Setúbal Peninsula, Estremadura and also Alentejo (where it is called Trincadeira Preta)

Tinta Barroca: ancient grape varietal, grown in the Douro for hundreds of years, one of the blender grapes for most ports. Interestingly this grape is being grown widely in South Africa.

Tinta Roriz: called Tempranillo in Spain, in Portugal it is used widely in Port making and also in the production of still reds in the Alentejo where it is called ” Aragonês”, in Dao and in the Douro for table wines

Touriga Francesa: one of the main grapes grown in the Douro (over 20% of all plantings), characterized by its powerful bouquet

Touriga Nacional: considered to be one of the best grapes in Portugal, a noble variety, One of the principal grapes grown in the Douro Valley for port wines and also the Dao

Trincadeira Preta: also called Tinta Amarela and Castelão Frances

White Portuguese Grapes

Antao Vaz: citrussy, an acidic grape used in Alentejo

Alvarinho: grown in Northern Portugal and used for Vinho Verde, high quality. Some say related to the “Albariño” of Galicia, Spain

Arinto: used in the Bucelas appellation for still and sparkling wines, also widely in the Alentejo (for delicious dry, lemony fruity whites), Bairrada, Setúbal and other regions. It’s one of the oldest Portuguese varietals

Avesso: used in the Vinho Verde appellation, aromatic and acidic

Boal: there are five strains of this grape, the most famous being the Boal used in Madeira

Códega: historic Portuguese varietal which produces good alcohol, low acidity and high yields. Also called “Roupeiro”

Encruzado: – high alcoholic white grape seen frequently in the Dão. Good aging capabilities

Esgana Cão: colorfully translates as “Dog Strangler”! Also called “Sercial” in Madeira. Highly acidic white used as a blender grape all over Portugal

Fernão Pires: reminiscent of Muscat this is an aromatic grape used in the Douro, Setúbal, Alentejo and other regions. Called “Maria Gomez” in Bairrada

Gouveio:see “Verdelho”

Malvasia Fina: aromatic white used all over Portugal including white port

Malvasia Real: high yielding white, not as well regarded as Malvasia Fina

Perrum: one of the main white grapes of the Alentejo and also Algarve

Rabigato: “Ewe’s Tail”, this is a high yielding grape grown all over the country. Also called “Rabo d´Ovelha”

Roupeiro: Quality grape, honey flavored grape when grown in the Alentejo (also called Codéga)

Sercial: main grape used in Madeira fortified wines

Verdelho: One of the noble white varietals of Madeira. Australia is growing this Portuguese varietal extensively.

Viosinho: lesser white of the Douro, used in white ports

One thought on “Guide to Portuguese Grape Varieties

  1. josette debragga says:

    What variety of grapes grow on the island of St. Maria Acores?

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