Wine With a View’s beautiful hometown Lisboa has everything a (wine) explorer could wish for. In only a short distance you’ll find beautiful quintas (Portuguese for vineyards), awesome sandy beaches, some of the world-best surfing spots, historic places and breathtaking mountains. And on top of that amazing natural scenery, Lisboa is also a cosmopolitan city with lots of history, art, geology, gastronomy and golf to satisfy any desire you may have.
The Lisbon Region holds an important place in the Portuguese wine landscape, not only due to the extension of its vineyards but especially due to the quality of its wines and brandies. On the north, the vineyards of the Vinho Regional de Lisboa area (known also as Estremadura region until the 2008 vintage) are located right between the cold and strong sea breeze of the Atlantic coast and the heat of inland Portugal. At night, the land is naturally irrigated by the early morning fog and during the day it receives warmth from sunny afternoons. The different terroirs, land formations, soils, climates, grape varieties make it possible to always find the right wine to go with any occasion!
This terroir makes it perfect for bright, juicy and fruity wines. Producers in this region are masters at blending several grape varieties (indigenous Portuguese grapes but also with famous international ones like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) producing delicious wines with premium blends. Winemakers from all over the world dream of Lisboa’s blending expertise and many fly all the way here to taste and experience it. In 2017 the producers from the Lisboa Region had the Vintage of a Century, by reviving vineyards and using new techniques. The grapes were just perfect and fulfilled all the requirements to make extraordinary wines and keeping good yields.
Why don’t you, too, come to Lisbon and enjoy the experience of sipping a nice glass of Lisbon’s Wine With a View at one of our Wine Trucks?
Not only Lisboa itself has a lot of diversity, also its wine region has very much to offer: with a total of 9, the area has more DOCs than any other Portuguese regional wine region. Keep reading to learn more about them and some tips about what you can do at each of them (besides winetasting!) when you come to visit!
Grapes have been grown in Portugal since before the Roman occupation (200BC). It was further developed in the Middle Ages by various religious congregations which settled in the country and had an important influence in the economy and culture of the region.
Carcavelos (long famous for its sweet wines), Colares (with vines planted deep into the sand dunes and protected by windbreaks, producing high-acid, tannic reds, mainly with the rare Ramisco, legendary for their keeping power) and Bucelas (crisp, dry and mineral whites, based largely on the Arinto grape) were the first denominations to be created in the Lisbon Region. They are located on the outskirts of the city of Lisbon and produce wines with completely different characteristics, though each has its own remarkable identity and quality. If you are in the Carcavelos region, don’t miss the picturesque cities of Cascais and Estoril, the beautiful beaches and the Casino Estoril! Colares is very close to Sintra, so check out the fairy tale palaces and the Cabo da Roca, the westernmost extent of Europe!
Further north we find large quintas planted on the beautiful slopes and hills that characterize their area. The Arruda region reminds of a fairy-tale with its ancient ruins of castles, Roman roads, historic windmills and, of course, the vineyards, that grow mainly red grapes, both Portuguese and international ones. Traditionally an agricultural region, Arruda dos Vinhos is a peaceful town, where it is worth visiting the Igreja Matriz (Parish Church) and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Monte.
Also on the countryside lays Alenquer, protected from the raw Atlantic winds by the chalky hills of the Serra de Montejunto, perfect for climbing! This climate is perfect for grapes to ripe at leisure and produce very good, concentrated red wines and whites with fresh acidity. Alenquer is popularly known as the vila-presépio ("crib town"), due to the harmonious layout of its houses on a slope, giving it the shape of an amphitheatre and the main event here is the Fair of the Ascension, held annually in May or June (depending on the date of that moveable feast), which attracts many visitors to the region.
In DOC Torres Vedras, a central historical region with great food, golf courses as well as beaches, the climate is cooler. Here, conditions are perfect for light, dry white wines, including a low-alcohol white known as Vinho Leve. Try the bean pie (pastel de feijão) which is typical here and if you like carnival, this is the best place in Portugal to be and celebrate!
Located near the Peniche peninsula, the DOC Óbidos area with the beautiful, walled medieval town of Óbidos, is quite cool, producing superb, crisp whites (including Vinho Leve) and some of Portugal’s finest sparkling wines, as well as some reds which are at best light and elegant. The queen however is the amazing Ginja, a sweet cherry liquor from heaven! Wine With a View loves Ginja, or Ginjinha, as we also call it, and we’re very proud of the MSR Ginja we offer at our Wine trucks! It is artisanal and made exclusively with Portuguese locally grown grapes and of an extraordinary quality, just delicious!
Close to the fishing port of Peniche and Cabo do Carvoeiro, Lourinhã is the only DOC in Portugal that is solely demarcated for brandy, or Aguardente, which is produced from Tália grapes, also known as Ugni Blanc, the grape responsible for the famous Cognac and Armagnac brandies in France. Inhabited since ancient times, it was in the Lourinhã region that the most important evidence of the presence of dinosaurs in Portugal was discovered - the fossilised eggs and respective embryos, which are displayed in the Municipal Museum. On the hill where the Moors built a fort, later rebuilt by the Christians, it is worth visiting the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo (St Mary of the Castle), a fine example of 14th century Gothic style. This is one of the best points from which to admire the diversity of the region.
Last but not least, at the northern limit of the Lisbon region, we find the largest of Lisbon’s DOCs, the Encostas de Aire, which produces some of Portugal’s most distinctive wines and the Historic Wines of Ourém. The region surrounds the pretty, cobbled town of Leiria, the famous pilgrimage center of Fátima, and the fabulous monasteries at Batalha and Alcobaça, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Both white and red wines are light, fresh and low in alcohol.
Apart from these DOC wine, the region produces a considerable volume of certified wine under the designation “Regional Wine of Lisbon”.
How did you like this little tour through the vast Lisboa wine region? Did you know how big it was and how many different wines are produced here? We are always working on improving and broaden the Wine With a View experience, so there are always new projects on the making! Would you like to come on a Wine With a View tour with us, to learn more about Lisboa, see where the wines come from and taste them with unique views in secret spots? We’d love to hear your opinion on that! Leave us a comment!