Granite-rich mountains dotted with prehistoric tombs dominate the Dão’s landscape, and the region's wines are similarly rugged and long-lasting. In the sub-region of Bairrada, winemakers coax the tricky Baga grape to make good on its potential. Areas rich in limestone produce well-regarded sparkling wines known as espumantes.
This is a classic area for Port. Searing hot summers and poor, rocky soil provide low yields, which in turn produce gigantic wines that are inky, opaque, ripe and black-berried, with notes of rock rose.
This lush region gets as much rain as Seattle. High trellised vines produce light, fresh whites and very light, very acidic reds. Vinho Verde, or “green wine,” refers to the age of the wine rather than to its color, which can be white, pink or red. Try it with calamari, salads or sardines. Wines employing the Loureiro grape exhibit perfumed and exotic characteristics while those using Avesso are known for their creamy minerality. The unifying factor here is that all of these wines need to be drunk in their youth.