Portugal is a famous wine-producing country in Western Europe, bordering Spain; it is ranked as the 11th largest in the world for wine production. While it is best known for the glorious Port wines from the Porto (Duoro), there are many other excellent products emerging from here; these include whites such as Vinho Verde and Alvarinho as well as powerful dry reds made from the Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz varieties.

There are fourteen recognized wine regions, with the most famous in the north, including Porto, Dão and Vinho Verde. Another important area is Madeira, located off the southeast coast; here some of the longest-lived wines in the world are produced.

Many of the regions are known for regional wines, medium-bodied and meant for youthful consumption; little by little, however, small wine estates are being established, as in the southern region of Setubal. The Muscatel grape, used to produce lush, sweet dessert wines, is a principal variety in Setubal.

For Vinho Verde and Alvarinho, the flavors are of tropical fruits, apricots and citrus; pair these wines with salads and Asian cuisine. For the more full-bodied reds, such as those produced from Touriga Nacional, pair these with lamb and aged sirloin.

While Portugal has enjoyed a regal wine history thanks to the world-famous Port wines, today more styles of wines, along with more aggressive marketing has led to a great awareness of the country among wine lovers around the world. Though small, exports are beginning to increase, especially in the United States; prices are varied, making it difficult to create a sound bite for the country’s wines. But today, Portugal is known for more than Port, and the future looks promising. (Wine/Appellations)