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Tejo… formally known as the Ribatejo

This region’s main characteristics are the diversity of soils and the large wine farms with low production costs. This fertile region, formerly known for supplying the internal market and colonies in Africa, produces quality white and red wines at an extremely competitive price. In
Tejo people practice extensive agriculture: horticultural and fruit crops, rice, olive trees and vine fill the region’s wide plains. The river Tejo (Tagus) is omnipresent in the region’s landscape and is one of the elements responsible for the climate, the soil and, consequently, for the fertility of the region. The climate is Mediterranean, but the influence of the river makes the seasons mild.


| The Wine

The Denomination of Origin of Tejo has six sub-regions (Almeirim, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Santarém and Tomar). The soils vary according to their proximity to the sea. Marshlands are very fertile areas located by the river. Tejo’s floods tend to completely immerse the fields.

cvr TejoTejo has been famous for producing large quantities of wine that would supply restaurants and taverns in Lisbon. Its large agricultural holdings would seek to obtain the maximum profit from the vines and produce low quality wine to be sold in bulk. In the last 15 years, the region underwent significant changes, not only in the fields but also in the wineries. Many vines were transferred from the fields near the sea to the ones in the interior. This lowered production, but increased quality.


| Appellation

• Tejo DOC

The region is divided into six sub regions:

• Almeirim IPR - This area covers the municipalities of Almeirim, Alpiarça and some of Salvaterra de Magos. Like its neighbour Santarém this has lower and upper vineyards. The lower being the flood fertile plain of the River Tejo, the upper being well-drained sandy soil. The red wine tends to be smooth with good tannin content. The white wine is well-balanced with fruity aromas but best consumed early.


• Cartaxo IPR - The area covers the municipalities of Azambuja and Cartaxo. The vineyards are planted in two different types of soil. The first is the flood plains of the River Tejo and the second a 200 meter high calcareous clay soil. The red wine from the lower vineyards is ruby-coloured, firm and fruity, whilst the higher vineyards produce a deeper colour, rich and smooth wine. The white from the lower part is pale and fruity, whilst the higher part produces a wine that is dry and smooth.


• Chamusca IPR - This area covers the municipalities of both Chamusca and Golegã also providing two different soils. The alluvial earth of the flood plain and the stony soil of higher land. The red wine is garnet-coloured and well-balanced, soft and smooth. The white wine is fruity, soft and is also found to be well-balanced.


• Coruche IPR - This area is the fertile flood plains of the River Tejo covering the municipality of Coruche, and part of Salvaterra de Magos and Benavente. The red wine is garnet-coloured, light and soft. The white wine is pale, light with fruity aromas.


• Santarém IPR - Wines from this whole region have been well known since the 12th Century. The two towns in this area are Rio Maior and Santarém. The red wine is deep in colour, full-bodied and well balanced. The white wine is straw-coloured and palatable.


• 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) Tejo

In the production of Tejo regional wine one may use grape varieties not included in the Denomination of Origin. This way, farmers may perform experiments on the soil, climate and grape varieties to produce original wines. As a matter of fact, from the 22300 hectares of vine in Ribatejo, only 1850 are certified for the production of DOC wine.


| Main local grapes

Alicante Branco

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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.
Trincadeira Also known as Tinta Amarela. It has medium-sized, compact bunches and medium-sized, round berries. It is sensitive to diseases and rottenness (if the berries get wet, they easily rotten), therefore it develops best in dry and very hot climates. The wines produced are rich in colour and aromas (fruity and vegetable), slightly alcoholic and have good ageing potential.

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