Lisboa is a VR (Vinho Regional) in the southwestern Estremadura province. It is named for the capital city located in its southern tip, which juts into the Atlantic and creates a long western coastline. The region is bordered to the north by Beiras and to the east by Tejo.
Lisoa is home to nine DOCs, wines outside of which are designated VR Lisboa. Although smaller than Beiras and Alentejo, Lisboa produces the largest volume of wine in Portugal. It has historically been known mostly for cooperative-produced table wine, although a number of producers today are proving this reputation wrong.
In Lisboa, history and modernism sit side by side. Just 60 miles north of the famous urban capital of Lisbon is the Cistercian monastery of Alcobaça, founded in 1178 and now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The rural landscapes throughout Lisboa are idyllic: pine forests border sandy coastal strips; orchards mingle with vineyards; and old hilltop windmills dot the landscape.
Lisboan cuisine takes advantage of it proximity to the Atlantic, producing flavorful dishes from bacalhau, grilled sardines, and fried cuttlefish that pair especially well with the region’s young, crisp whites.
Because of Lisboa’s proximity to the ocean, wind sweeps through the region, slowing grape ripening. The best wines are produced in inland areas protected from the wind by the Serra de Montejunto mountains.
Traditional red varieties include Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, Baga and Trincadeira. The major white varieties are Fernão Pires and Arinto. Foreign grapes are increasingly prevalent in VR and some DOC wines.
A number of the top wine estates are in or around the DOC region of Alenquer, tucked in to the east of the Serra de Montejunto and therefore less windy, cold and wet. Grapes can ripen well, and red wines especially can be top class.
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