Grape varieties

The richness of different traditional varieties is another feature of vine growing in the Douro region. The reasons are partly historical and partly related to the different soil conditions and climate in different parts of this wine region. An example of the Touriga Nacional variety thrives in stony soils and scorching sun. Touriga Francesa prefers nutritious soil and protection from strong winds. In contrast, Tinta Barroca produces the best yields on the colder northern or eastern slopes and in places with limited exposure to sunlight.

About grape varieties in Douro with David Guimaraens from Taylor’s

Although about 30 varieties can be used to produce port, most modern vineyards focus on choosing from the five or six most suitable varieties from which the best wine can be produced. Some less used varieties are added to complement the desirable characteristics of the wine, such as color, but only on the basis of the specific requirements of the winegrower.

The main red grape varieties include:

Touriga Nacional

Although Touriga Nacional has been classified as a low-yielding variety in the past, it has become the most valuable variety among growers throughout Portugal thanks to the modernization of viticulture. Its small berries with a thick skin give a dark, concentrated wine with rich fruity flavors and strong tannins. They give the depth, volume and durability of the wine.

Touriga Francesa

This variety is planted in relation to others in the largest area of ​​the Douro wine region. It is a guarantee of stability and reliability in the production of quality Port wines. Its intense fruit flavors are similar to those of the Touriga Nacional, but they are softer and more aromatic, and contribute to its attractive floral aroma when blending wines. A clear tannin trail helps give the wine its structure.

6 main red grape varieties for producing Port wine

Tinta Roriz

Tinta Roriz currently represents the largest share of newly planted vineyards after Touriga Francesa. Its large berries and grapes produce relatively high yields. It achieves the best results in dry years. Due to its complexity, it is suitable for elegant, aromatic Port wines.

Tinta Barroca

This variety produces a juicy and fragrant wine, sweet, soft and round on the palate. Grapes are richer in pigments than in tannins, and because they provide more color than textures, they are blended with more tannin varieties. It is a common part of vintage port wine.

Tinta Cao (or Tinto Cão)

It is one of the oldest varieties in the Douro, which can adapt very well to hot and dry conditions. It shows its strength even on very poor soils. Its properties such as fresh acidity and velvety structure are best manifested after several years of maturation.

White varieties

If you say „port wine“, in our region one usually imagines a wine of dark color made from red grapes. However, it would be a mistake to think that port is only red. Although the Douro region, with its harsh climate, white varieties do not stand as well as red ones, we can find white varieties on about one third of the planted area of ​​vineyards. The following are grown as white varieties:

  • Moscatel
  • Malvasia Fina
  • Rabigato
  • Gouveio
  • Viosinho
  • Arinto

What is Port Wine
Styles of Port Wine
Port Wine production
History of Port Wine
Port Wine origin