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Lisboa… formally known as Estremadura

A long, thin region running up the Atlantic coast from the capital, Lisboa (formally known as Estremadura) famously for its medieval castles and legendary tales of heroism, but most importantly, considered a mecca for Portuguese wine back in the 19th century. Stretching along the Atlantic coast, the Lisboa wine region is the second largest Portuguese wine producing region in Portugal, elaborating approximately 311,000 hectoliters in 2006. The landscape contains everything from undulating lush green terrains to steep and desolate mountain ranges of Candeeiros and Montejunto, it’s a place you want to rent a car and get lost in.


| The Wine

cvr_lisboaThe Vinho Regional Lisboa incorporates nine DOC regions making it the most confusing of all Portugal's wine regions for the non-Portuguese consumer. Generally known and appreciated usually in terms of volumn if nothing else have been overthrown by some new impressive wines emerging at both the quality and volume ends of the market.
As in the Tejo region ( formally known as Ribatejo), it’s not uncommon to find international grape varieties planted here.


| Appellation

• Alenquer DOC

Alenquer, located north of Bucelas, produces some of the most esteemed red and white DOC wines in the Lisboa region that as a result of their protected location from the Atlantic winds, allow these low alcohol, yet concentrated wines to improve with age.
 

• Arruda DOC

This small area on the east side of the province of The Vinho Regional Lisboa covers the municipalities of Arruda dos Vinhos, Sobral de Monte Agraço and Vila Franca de Xira. The red wine is light and fresh with good ageing properties and becomes smooth and soft. The white wine is light, fruity and racy.


• Buccelas DOC

The region of Bucelas that lies within the south Lisboa district produces some very good white wines as the "Arinto" grape grows well on this soil. This is probably the area from which the wine "Charneco" originated that was consumed in England in the 14th Century. Today, the wine is greenish straw-coloured with a perfumed nose and slightly acid and dry


• Carcavelos DOC

This small region lies to the east of Lisbon on the mouth of the River Tejo (Tagus) and covers part of the municipalities of both Cascais and Oeiras. It produces a fortified wine known as “Vinho Generoso”. The Carcavelos wine is linked with history since the 18th Century when the Marquês de Pombal once owned this once large vineyard and its winery. The wine is high in alcohol content, topaz-coloured with a nutty aroma and slightly dry. It was popular with the Duke of Wellington’s officers during the Peninsular War. On record is the high price fetched for this wine at Christie’s auction in London in 1769.


• Colares DOC

The region of Colares is famous for its “Ramisco” vines that are planted in deep trenches that are dug out of the sandy dunes to protect them from the Atlantic winds. The region covers the municipalities of Colares, São Martinho and São João das Lapas. This full-blooded red wine has so much tannin that it becomes very dry in taste. The white wine is fresh, fruity and aromatic that develops with age.


• Encostas de Aire DOC

This area covers the municipalities of Batalha, Vila Nova de Ourém, Leiria and Porto de Mós. The links with history are best represented by the magnificent building at Batalha of the Monastery of "Santa Maria da Victória" that represents the victory of Dom Afonso Henriques against the invading Spanish. The red wine from this region is light with a ruby-colour and the white is fresh, fruity and aromatic.


• Lourinha DOC

This region is on the coast and is mostly barren but attractive, covering the municipalities of Bombarral, Lourinhã, Óbidos, Peniche and Torres Vedras, all part of the Costa Prata area. It has been for some time an area specialised in the production of grape brandy known as "Aguardente" that are only sold after being kept 2 years in oak casks.


• Óbidos DOC

The region is named after the medieval walled town that is one of the most picturesque in the whole of Portugal and is located north of Lisbon. The red wine is soft, open and slightly scented, whilst the white is fresh with fruity aromatic flavours.


• Torres Vedras DOC

The municipalities covered by this region are Mafra, Sobral do Monte Agraço and Torres Vedras. The red wine is ruby-coloured and acquires a definite smoothness with ageing.
 

• Alcobaça IPR

This area is very close to the coast and covers the municipality of Caldas da Rainha and includes part of the municipality of Porto de Mós. Located in the town of Alcobaça is the National Museum of Wine and contains masses of useful information for the visitor. The red wines from this region are light, smooth and nicely palatable. The white wines are pale in colour with fresh, fruity and aromatic flavours.
 

• Tomar IPR

The town of this area is steeped in history and in the 14th Century was the home of the Order of Knights Templar. The neighbouring town of Ferreira do Zêzere shares the same links with history and also is part of this wine area. The red wine is light in colour and body, with some acidity. The white wine has a slight green tinge and a fruity crisp flavour.


• Vinho Regional (VR) Estremadura

VR EstremaduraAfter the region started to introduce foreign grapes a new appellation was created in 1993: the Vinho Regional Estremadura. This new type of wine encouraged producers to study the potential of the different grape varieties and, currently, most wines produced in Lisboa wine region are now regionals.

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| Main local grapes

Arinto

This makes steely, high acid whites that age well. Although blended with other grapes, it makes good, lemony, mineral white that gain complexity with age. Found in many other areas of Portugal.

Castelão Probably Portugal's most widely planted red variety, most dominant in the south. It makes a firm, elegant raspberry fruity wines that evolve to a cedary, cigar box character.
Fernão Pires This aromatic grape makes it onto the most-planted list in some regions. It often exhibits a slightly muscatty, floral character if well balanced with acidity.
Malvasia Rei In Portugal, there are no fewer than 12 varieties known as "Malvasia" which may or may not be related to true Malvasia. Malvasia Rei is believed to be the Palomino grown in Spain for Sherry production which maybe related to the Malvasia family. In Portugal, Malvasia Rei is grown in the Douro, Beiras and Lisboa regions.
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