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Fresh Gusts Stir the Douro
Portugal Beyond Port
Already famous for its Port, one of the world’s great wine locations, the Trás-os-Montes region enveloping Portugal’s Douro River, is now producing stunning yet affordable table wines that have quietly infiltrated our own shores.
Duoro The Douro river embankment in Porto city, Portugal.
Major varietal players among this region’s red table wines include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (called Tempranillo in Spain) and Touriga Franca. Terraced vines from this hilly, rugged territory forge wines of deep color and black fruit.

The region’s notable table wines harken back to 1952 with the first vintage of the famed Barca Velha, Portugal’s version of Napa’s Inglenook Cask Cabernet or South Australia’s Grange. In some vintages, up to 55% of the region’s harvest produces table wines rather than Port. Crafted in a modern, dense and ripe style, these wines continue to win accolades from Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and International Wine Cellar.

The Douro encompasses three identifiable wine districts: Douro Superior, Cima Corgo and Baixo Corgo. The Douro Superior is the upper parcel, and is less developed than the others. The Cima Corgo is the heart of the region and produces some of the most structured and lauded wines of Portugal. Baixo Corgo, the lower or western section, has the coolest climate and offers less power and a softer style.

With many of the venerable Port houses now investing full-throttle in the production and development of innovative table wines, this is truly the time to imbibe some refreshing new wines that provide the quality of vintage Port and the richness of its fruit without the heaviness, high sugar or long maturation periods.

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