A lot of people ask us, why we have chosen Portuguese wines for My Uniq Wines store. When thinking on what wine to choose for the evening or to give as a present, Portugal is hardly ever on top of one’s mind. This wine producing country still seems overly undervalued, it’s wines mostly unknown. However, we do know that in places less known, lie the hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.
Portugal is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world. Yet, due to its isolated geographical position on the map, people know its wines less compared to France or Italy. Portuguese relationship with Britain has had a significant effect on the development of the wine industry. Even to this day Portugal is associated primarily with Ports – super complex and intense fortified wines and their history. Yet we decided to travel around Portugal and discover its table wines. Here is why we love Portugal and find its table wines so interesting.
1 – Portugal is full of unique grape varieties
Portugal has a large number of native grape varieties, producing a wide array of different Portuguese table wines. The absence of widespread usage of international varieties is a unique hallmark of Portuguese wines. As Jancis Robinson a famous wine writer puts it: Such is the singularity and quality of Portugal’s own varieties that the country has remained admirably impervious to the wave of Cabernet- and Chardonnay-mania that engulfed so much of the rest of the wine world in the 1980s and 1990s.
No matter how many times we’ve been to Portugal, reading wine labels still surprises us. To name a few, here they are: Tinto Cão, Trincadeira, Arinto, Viosinho, Baga and so on. Trust us, drinking wines from Portugal will guarantee new discoveries in the glass. Most of the wines are blends of local varieties, which makes them more complex and intriguing.
2 – Some of the best red wine in the World
When people talk about best reds one usually expects to hear keywords like Bordeaux, Piedmont, Chianti, Brunello and so on. But let us tell you a secret. Portugal has both the terroir and a unique grape variety, which potential is highly valued among best wine critics. Meet Touriga Nacional!
This grape, mainly grown in Douro – northern wine region prided for the best wines in the country. Touriga Nacional likes hot summers and produces tiny grape fruits that result in very concentrated red wines. Furthermore, they age perfectly well in the cellar and can be compared to varieties like Barolo as the wine tends to soften and reveal its real potential over the years. Additionally, here are some more interesting wine facts and pairing with food recommendations from Wine Folly for this superior variety.
3 – High number of small wineries
As we appreciate the roads less travelled, Portugal is perfect for that. Due to historical reasons, wineries in this country are much smaller compared to giants from France or Italy and we love it! It gives us a chance to wander and meet winemakers, have personal conversations with them and discover their wines in more detail. All wine we have chosen for My Uniq Wines, come from small to medium sized wineries that we personally visited during a number of trips to Portugal. Learn more about our winemakers here. In areas like Douro, due to its steep terraces, most winemakers still work their vineyards by hand without any machinery involved. It adds that touch of personality and story to your wine glass.
4 – Beautiful nature keeps drawing us back
Driving from winery to winery you cannot help but notice the beauty of Portugal. Especially the majestic Douro valley, where the Douro river winds before it meets the ocean in historical Oporto city. Vineyards here are really steep. It’s impossible not to think of how much work this kind of land requires to produce those delicious wines.
Douro is also a Unesco World Heritage site since 2001 and the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. It’s a true paradise for every wine lover. As you go down south, the land flattens a bit, but is no less impressive with small towns, beaches and wild nature. Every traveller can find something to love. What we love most about this country, is that despite its beauty, it feels less travelled. It makes it more authentic – and authenticity is what we care a lot about.
5 – Land of delicious food to compliment your wine
As we travelled through Portugal discovering land and winemaking traditions, we could not stop being surprised by a large number of truly unique dishes we had with our wines. The land is fertile, weather is good and it’s close to the sea. This makes the cuisine very varied in each region. Here are top 10 unique Portuguese dishes you must try if travelling in that beautiful country. Our favourite is Alheira de Mirandela – a sausage invented by Jewish population. A strong full-bodied red wine will be a perfect accompaniment to this plate.
Try the land of Portugal in your wine glass
It is always fun to discover wines with a group of friends. A wine tasting evening can be a perfect way to start discovering a country without leaving your home. We’ve written an article on how to organise a wine tasting, read it, get inspired and surprise your friends with a unique night in. Should you have a wine tasting, you can choose six different wines from our wine cellar and create unique labels for each of them. This will make your evening even more personal. If you need advice, drop us a message email@example.com, we are here to help you.