Portugal is a world of wine unto itself, with over 250 native grape varieties and a winemaking history that stretches back to 2000 BCE. In relative isolation Portugal has developed winemaking traditions that speak to balance between extremes from a country perched between the edge of Europe and the raging Atlantic Ocean.
In recent decades a new generation of young Portuguese winemakers have infused the world of Portuguese wines with fresh vitality, selectively modernizing winemaking and viticultural practices while never losing sight of their ethos and heritage. Through their passion and diligence, a wealth of Portuguese varietals that have persisted in relative obscurity have been brought to international recognition in recent years, demonstrating their capacity for yielding world class wines of elegance, nuance, and complexity. In many cases, the Portuguese winemakers of today have looked backwards in their history for inspiration in creating exceptional wines, reviving winemaking practices whose roots stretch as far back as the Phoenician and Roman empires.
Contemporary Portuguese winemaking is marked by an unshakable conviction in the traditions that have shaped winemaking practices in the country over the course of countless centuries and generations. The inextricable links between families, the land, and the sharing of good wine have allowed the wines of Portugal to become as deeply-rooted in Portuguese culture as the vines are rooted in the vineyards that cover the stone terraces of the Douro Valley or the rolling hills of the Alentejo. The dramatic and changing landscape of the country, which covers an area only a quarter of the size of California, is remarkable in its variation of landscape and microclimate. While traveling only a few short miles, the landscapes of Portugal can change completely from sunny Mediterranean coasts to windswept mountain passes and valleys, creating the potential for an almost infinite variation in expressions of terroir in the wines that are being produced. Tying all of these spaces together is the Atlantic, whose ever-present influence shapes as much the culture of Portugal as it does its landscape and the nature of its wines. Between the very edge of the Old World and the beginning of the sea, Portugal and its wines balance on the razor’s edge of extremes, creating wines that are as profound as they are welcoming.