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Trás os Montes… the land of extremes

In the far north east of Portugal, north of the Douro region, one finds the wine region of Trás-os-Montes, which is divided into four sub-regions: Chaves, Valpaços, Varosa and Planalto Mirandês. The name Trás-os-Montes (“behind the hills”) refers to the region’s location: beyond the Marão and Alvão mountain ranges, north of the river Douro. It is an area of mountains and granite soils. The climate is dry and very hot in summer, but temperatures go below 0ºC in winter.


| The Winecvrtm

The range of wines from the Trás os Montes is as diverse as the
landscapes. The region produces the whole range of wines from somewhat stringent and very alcoholic red to light sparkling or semi-sweet floral whites.


| Appellation

• Trás os Montes DOC

The region is divided into four sub regions:

• IPR Chaves - This area has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. The two municipalities included are Chaves and Vila Pouca de Aguiar. The best vineyards are in the area of Ribeira de Oura on the slopes of the River Tamega. The region is also famous for its Spa waters. The red wine is firm and dry with some body.


• IPR Planalto Mirandes - -Bordered on the east by Spain it covers the area of the upper part of the River Douro taking in the municipalities of Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Miranda do Douro, Moncorvo, Mogadoura and Vimioso. Some of the inhabitants of the area speak in a strange dialect called "Mirandês". The upper section of the river is now a Nature Reserve. The red wine is light, nicely palatable and ages well. The white wine is lively, fresh, and a slight petulance.


• IPR Valpaços - The area lends itself to be described as a plateau with very cold winters and warm dry summers. The towns covered are Macedo de Cavalheiras, Mirandela, Murça, Valpaços and Vinhas. Its red wines are light, fruity in aroma and dry, often taken as a companion to a special cake from the region known as "Folar"


• IPR Varosa - An area that covers the municipalities of Armamar, Lamego and Tarouca, with attractive terraced vineyards forming large country estates. The red wine is ruby, fresh and fruity, whilst the white is crisp, somewhat sharp and with acidity.
 

• Vinho Regional (VR) Transmontano

Those wines of good quality from the Trás os Montes that don't adhere to the stringent DOC restraints or outside the designated areas
 

| Main local grapes

Boal Branco

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Côdiga de Larinho -
Malvasia Fina Malvasia Fina is essentially grown in the interior north of Portugal, in the Douro region and sb-region of Távora-Varosa. However, it is also grown in Portalegre (where it is known as Arinto Galego), Dâo (where it goes by the name of Assario Branco) and in Madeira (where it is called Boal).As this grape variety doesn’t tolerate very high temperatures it is necessary to study the ideal time for harvesting, in order to avoid deteriorating the berries. It is particularly sensitive to rottenness and some vine diseases and pests, such as powdery mildew. Malvasia Fina produces moderate acidity wines, with delicate and not very complex aromas and flavours. This grape variety is regularly produced and has medium-sized bunches and berries.
Síria Síria is grown in the interior of Portugal. It has been the most planted white grape variety in the Alentejo region, where it is known as Roupeiro. However, Alentejo’s high temperatures were not beneficial to Síria: the wines weren’t fresh, didn’t have good acidity and would quickly loose their aromas. Therefore, this grape variety started being produced in the higher and cooler lands of Beira Interior (namely Castelo Rodrigo) and Dão (where it is called Alvadurão, Côdega or Crato Branco). Síria is a very productive grape variety of small bunches and berries. Though it is resistant to powdery and downy mildew, it is very sensitive to rottenness. Wines produced with this grape are delicate, fresh and elegant.
Tinta Roriz Growers all over Portugal agree on the quality of this grape, also known as Agagonez. It ripens early, it producers good yields of flavoursome wine reminiscent of red fruits, strawberries and raspberries, with firm tannins. Know as Tempranillo in Spain where its used in Rioja, Tinta Roriz responds well to aging in oak.
Touriga Franca Definitely in the top trio of Douro grapes, and now planted widely in the northern half of Portugal. It may not have the structure of Touriga Nacional, but does have appealing floral fragrances and velvety tannins, and can age well. Nowadays you will find it in red wines as far south as the Setúbal Peninsula.
Touriga Nacional The most highly prized grape in the Douro and in Dão, and truly a northener, this is such a star that plantings have now spread right down to Alentejo and the Algarve. As well as a firm, rich colour, its aroma is a really complex mixture of raspberries and ripe blackcurrents, herbs, flowers and liquorice. It is sometimes goes by the name of Preto Mortágua.
Trincadeira Trincadeira is a grape variety mostly grown in the Alentejo and Douro regions (where it is called 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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