Red grapes do not have the sole purpose of producing wine; their consumption also has many health benefits, especially for skin and hair care. Red varieties contain fewer calories than white varieties, and contain vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, folate and magnesium.
The best known red grape varieties in Portugal
Touriga Franca produces dense, firm, rich and aromatic wines. It has floral and blackberry notes. It is one of the five grape varieties used for the production of the famous Port Wine, but it is also used in lots of Douro wine, being the most planted grape precisely in the Douro Valley.
Regions where it is most planted: Porto e Douro, Bairrada, Alentejo and Península de Setúbal.
The Tinta Roriz variety gives rise to fine, elegant wines with aromas of red fruits, plums and blackberries. It has great potential for aging. Like Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz is one of the best grapes to produce Port Wine, and it is also very important in the Dão region.
In the Alentejo, it is known as Aragonês.
Regions where it is most planted: Porto e Douro and Dão.
Touriga Nacional is one of the best known Portuguese grape varieties worldwide. It produces firm and very colorful red wines, with more complex aromas and flavors that resemble ripe blackcurrants and raspberries. It has a northern origin but nowadays it is planted all over the country. It also has great aging potential.
Regions where it is most planted: Dão, Porto e Douro, Bairrada, Alentejo and Tejo.
Trincadeira gives rise to wines with a raspberry flavor, herbaceous notes and good acidity. Planted throughout Portugal, above all in hot and dry areas.
In the Douro it is known as Tinta Amarela.
Regions where it is most planted: Alentejo, Tejo, Lisboa and Porto e Douro.
The Baga variety gives rise to wines that gain complexity with age. In the warmer years, Baga can produce denser wines with notes of cherries and apricots. The most important area for this variety is Bairrada, however it is also planted in Beira Interior and Dão. It is also widely used as a base for sparkling wine.
Regions where it is most planted: Bairrada and Dão.
Castelão is the most widely planted red grape variety in southern Portugal. It gives rise to fine, firm and fruity wines, with a raspberry aroma, which evolve over time to cedar aromas. It is on the grounds of Palmela, on the Setúbal Peninsula, that this grape variety shows its best.
Regions where it is most planted: Península de Setúbal, Tejo, Lisboa and Algarve.
The best known red grape varieties in the world
It is one of the best known grape varieties in the Iberian Peninsula and has Spanish origin. Tempranillo adapts easily to different climates and soils. This variety produces wines with high alcohol content, low acidity and ideal for aging, being very resistant to oxidation.
Origin – Spain.
It produces wines with a good expression of fruit, herbaceous and spice notes, in addition to having a good acidity and structure. They go well with grilled beef and firm cheeses such as provolone or parmesan.
Origin – Tuscany, Italy.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best known red grape varieties in the world. Usually produces full-bodied wines with moderate acidity. Although their origins are in the French city of Bordeaux, winemakers from California's Napa Valley and the Coonawarra region in Australia also produce well-known Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
They are wines with notes of blackcurrant and spices, and also have a moderate tannin structure.
Origin – Bordeaux, France.
Pinot Noir is part of the family of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier. This variety is associated with the Burgundy wine region in France. Due to the differences in the terroir of the different villages in Burgundy, the wines differ in complexity.
This grape variety has become so popular worldwide that winemakers in northern Italy, Germany, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Oregon have also planted it.
Origin – Burgundy, France.
The Merlot variety produces full-bodied wines with soft tannins, with moderate and sweet aromas. Hot climate or overripe grapes show black fruit (plum and blackberry), which can evolve into fruit cake and even chocolate. Moderate and fresh climate grapes produce wines with aromas of strawberry, cherry and currant and, sometimes, notes of mint.
Within Bordeaux, the wine regions of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol stand out. Outside France, we can find other countries with high quality Merlot wine, such as Italy, Chile and the United States.
Origin – Bordeaux, France.
The Syrah variety is associated with the Rhone Valley, in the south-east of France, however, it is already an international variety. In the New World, Syrah has become very popular in Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, California and the state of Washington. Although in France it is known as Syrah, in these New World markets it is known as Shiraz.
The wines produced from it are full-bodied and full of flavor. The most characteristic flavors are black fruits, violets and black olives, but over time, earthy or even meat notes tend to appear.
Origin – Rhone Valley, France.
Malbec wines from Argentina tend to be milder and less tannic than those found in southwest France, where Malbec originates. In Argentina, Malbec's main wine regions include Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan and Catamarca.
Based on the success of Malbec in Argentina, Chilean winemakers in the Central Valley are also working on creating high quality Malbec wines.
Origin – France.
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