"Boa é a vida, mas melhor é o vinho” “Life is good, but better is the wine” are the words of Portugal’s most famous poet Fernando Pessoa. This sentence summarises the place of wine (vinho) in the holy trinity of Portuguese gastronomy (the other two being bread and olive oil). Wine production in Portugal goes back thousands of years but the first written account is by Greek historian Strabo in the first Century before Christ. Strabo commented on what he regarded as barbaric consumption of wine in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Portuguese don’t appreciate the term barbaric and we would rather refer to our appreciation of wine as ‘ ommitted'. Portugal’s wine making is organised into regions (região demarcada), which limit a territory of particular characteristics and traditions. This concept of a protected region was created by Marquis of Pombal in the 18th century and the first region to gain the title was Douro (as a way of controlling Port wine commercialisation). There is only one way of finding out what your favourite Portuguese wine region is: try them all! Alenquer, Alentejo, Arruda, Bairrada, Beira Interior, Bucelas, Carcavelos, Colares, Dão, Douro, Encostas de Aire, Lagoa, Lagos, Lourinhã, Madeira, Palmela, Portimão, Porto, Setúbal, Tavira, Távora Varosa, Tejo, Torres Vedras, Vinho Verde.