Regions / Portugal / Minho
Minho Wine Regions, its Climate, and Popular Grape Varietals
Minho, which is Portugal’s northernmost wine region, is located along the nation’s Atlantic coast to the north and east of the famous city of Porto. Minho is known first and foremost for its Vinho Verde wines – crisp, aromatic white wines that pair well with salads, fish, and vegetable dishes.
There are six sub-zones of Minho: Moncåo, Lima, Braga, Pentafiel, Basto and Amarante. The entire Minho region is sometimes referred to as “Costa Verde” (the green coast) due to the lush, green countryside located here. In many ways, it is similar to the Galicia region of Spain, located just to the north.
Branco Vinho Verde wines are light-bodied, somewhat fruity and slightly spritzy white wines. You can enjoy them ice cold on a summer beach or with a seafood dinner. The lesser-known Rosado Vinho Verde wines are rosé wines with red berry flavors and a thirst-quenching acidity that some have compared to berry lemonade. These wines are best served young, when they are the most aromatic and acidic.
There are several different white grape varietals used to make Vinho Verde wines. The most popular white grape varietals include Alvarinho, Avesso, Loureiro, Arinto and Trajadura. The most popular red grape varietals include Alvarelhao, Espadeiro, Caino Tinto and Cabernet Sauvignon. Slightly under-ripe grapes are the best for making Vinho Verde wines.
The two major geographical features of Minho are the Minho and Douro rivers. The Minho River forms a natural boundary between Spain and Portugal, while the Douro River flows through the southern edge of Minho. Douro not only connects Portugal with Spain (where it is known as the Duero), it also connects the city of Porto with the winemakers of the Douro Valley.
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