How and where to taste good portuguese wines in Lisbon

5 years ago - Valérie D.

There isn’t only Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Côtes du Rhône in life! Oenophiles know it, Portugal is an excellent country of wine. The poorly known Portuguese vineyard has about thirty regions of origin. Various wine productions, of which one can discover the tannins on the tables of famous bars or Lisbon restaurants, or why not during an organized tour dedicated to the best beverages of the region. Thus gently exhilarated by the local aromas, you will perhaps not leave Lisbon without one or two good bottles found among the cellars and specialty shops of the Portuguese capital. Cheers!

A rich Portuguese vineyard

Portuguese crus, we know especially Porto, Vinho Verde, or Madeira. The Lusitanian vineyard however has a wide variety of reds, whites or sparkling wines that can accompany all kinds of dishes and various occasions.

Lisbon itself has no less than nine denominations of origin: Bucelas, Colares and Carcavelos to the south, Alenquer, Arruda, Lourinhã, Óbidos and Torres Vedras in the center, and Encostas d'Aire to the north. The white Bucelas is for example excellent to accompany your local sardines. Visiting Sintra, you can taste the red Colares which is vinified not far, and without going too far, the wines of Estremadura are among the best whites of the country. Further south of the white city, Moscatel d'Arràbida is produced. Sweet, golden, it is ideal for an aperitif or dessert, when it is 20 or 30 years old. Grilled meats will be better matched with a good red Dâo. For tables with stronger flavors, we will favor the wines of Alentejo, Barraida or Douro, a small region of the North also well known for the famous Porto.

Speaking of Porto, just know that if it is appreciated by the French at the time of the aperitif, or as a starter with a good melon, the English prefer it with their cheese, while the Portuguese drink it for their part at the end of the meal. The other star of Portuguese nectars, of course, is the Vinho Verde. If It holds its name of "green wine" of its fresh spring and early harvest (unlike the "Vinho Maduro", or "ripe wine"), make no mistake: this sparkling wine can be red as white. Finally, let's not forget the wines of the Algarve, which bloom in the sun of the wine region of Portimão.

Originally from the Algarve too, Amarguinha is a very sweet bitter almond liqueur. The diversity of the Portuguese vintages does not prevent to discover the joys of the famous liquors of the country. Typically from Lisbon, the Ginjinha or Ginja is indeed an "unmissable" of the capital, it's up to you to see if you prefer this cherry alcohol with or without the cherry at the bottom of the cup. Finally, in hot weather, you can always soak your lips in the freshness of a national beer of your choice: Sagres, Super Bock, Crystal or Imperial.

Beauty of vineyards in Portugal

Appellations of Portuguese wines

Note that Portuguese wines are subject to a classification that is divided into four categories: DOC (Denominação de origem controlada), IPR (Indicação de Provenção de Provençncia Regulada), VR (Vinhos Regionais, synonyms of "Vins de Pays"), and finally the Vinhos de Mesa or "Table Wines".

The DOC and IPR categories comply with European legislation Q.W.P.S.R. (Quality wines produced in specified regions). The DOC appellation is the equivalent of the French AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). These wines of very high taste and aromatic qualities, are attached to soils and meet the highest standards (grape varieties, soil characteristics, alcohol content, etc.). The DOC category counts every year new elected, among which we find the Porto, the Barraida, the Pico or Madeira among other famous bottles. The IPR classified wines (which can be translated as "Regulated Provenance Indication") wait for their DOC designation, and observed in this respect for five years in order to obtain it. So to speak, these IPRs are the casting candidates for "The New Star" of Portuguese wine.

The "Vinhos Regionais", of good quality, fulfill the condition of a determined regional origin, but do not meet all the rules imposed by the DOC name. The Algarve, Alentejano, Estremadura, are part of it. Portuguese table wines can have some good surprises, but most have nothing of the quality of their neighbors under controlled appellations

Portuguese wines for every taste and every budget

Good addresses to enjoy wine in Lisbon

Now that we know everything about the wine heritage of Portugal, all that is left is to find good places to enjoy these good wines in Lisbon. The capital has no shortage of places dedicated to the pleasures of oenology, and lovers of good wines will find a wide choice of bistros, restaurants with good wine waiters, or beautiful cellars to visit. We have selected four places to be discover for wine lovers in Lisbon.

The Old Pharmacy, for example, is a must wine bar located in the Bairro Alto district. The attentive service welcomes a large audience in its former pharmacy decor, to provide its best "therapeutic" advice ...

Right in the city center, the Sommelier Lisbon restaurant is, as its name indicates, a gourmet table of choice, ideal to accompany your meal with the best bottles. Its wine list includes more than 80 selections!

But the “must” to devote a moment entirely dedicated to tasting wines from all over the country, is the vaulted room of ViniPortugal, enthroned on the Praça da Commercio. For the price of a package of your choice, you can taste different wines by the glass, and discover all the variety of terroirs and vintages of Portugal. Here, we do not just toast, or even "drink a drink" in a friendly place, we explore. Wine events and thematic tastings are also offered among many activities.

Then go, do not sulk our pleasure, at the turn of a paved alley, to lean on the counter of a typical ginjhana. Lisbon abounds of it, and it is easy to spot them especially in the neighborhood of Rossio, with cherry stones thrown on the sidewalk. The historic spot remains A Ginjinha Espinheira, where for the modest sum of 1.10 €, the boss will send you the delicious cherry liqueur so beloved of Lisbon (and nothing else, we are there only for that!).

The Old Pharmacy: 83, R. do Diario de Notícias 73 – Lisbon

Opening hours: daily from 17h30 to 00h00

Sommelier Lisbon: Rua do Telhal, 57 – Lisbon

Opening hours: every day from 18:30 to 00:45

ViniPortugal Sala Ogival: Terreiro do Paco, Ala Poente – Lisbon

Opening hours: from 11h to 18h30

In Ginjinha Espinheira: Largo de São Domingos, 8 – Lisbon

Opening hours: daily from 9h to 22h

The Old Pharmacy, famous Lisbon wine bar

Discover the Portuguese wine culture… and bring back home some aromas

You have become an expert in Portuguese wines, you have tasted the ones you liked and now know which are your favorite. Impossible to go home without bringing back at least a good bottle, and why not, the memory of a real tour on the wine route in the region!
All you need to do is get off the tram nº28 near the cathedral. Behind the new shop Cellar GN, we find the famous Garrafeira Nacional. The wine shop offers the full range of Portuguese wines, from the finest DOC table wine, from the greenest vinho to the oldest vintages.
To go further in the oenological exploration of the region, why not try an organized day on the wine roads. Many tours offer for example, a private driver who picks you up to guide you a whole day between tastings in the most beautiful cellars of the region, visits in the most prestigious vineyards, and stops in charming villages. A complete sensory experience that allows you to fully enjoy the character of local wines ... with moderation, but also enjoyment!

GN Cellar -  Rua da Conceição, 20/26 - Lisbonne

Opening hours: everyday from 10h à 21h

Village of Óbidos, on the routes of wine near Lisbon