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The Tejo wine region (formerly known as Ribatejo until 2009) is located in central Portugal, just inland from the famous city of Lisbon. Unlike other winemaking regions of Portugal, Tejo is completely landlocked, which is why the region has been identified for so long with the Tejo River, which passes through it, connecting Lisbon to Madrid.
The fertile alluvial plains along the Tejo River often result in fantastically high yields for winemakers. In the past, that has led to a focus on quantity over quality. In the past decade, though, there has been a change in focus from bulk wine production to creating international-class red wines.
The most popular red grape varietals from Tejo include Touriga Nacional, Castelao and Trincadeira. International varietals – such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon – have enjoyed growing popularity in recent years. In fact, some of the best red wines from Tejo blend the distinctively Portuguese grape varietals with those from France. In terms of white wine production, the most famous Tejo white wines are made from Fernao Pires grapes, which tend to produce an aromatic and sometimes spicy wine.
There are 6 sub-regions of Tejo along the Tejo River: Almeirim, Cartaxo (which extends into the Lisboa denomination de Origen), Chamusca, Coruche, Santarem, and Tomar. These six sub-regions are known for a mostly temperate climate.
Historically, the location of Tejo between Lisbon and Madrid has provided a ready market for wine buyers and sellers. Dating all the way back to the Middle Ages, wine merchants often made their way along the Tejo River.