Portugal: Taste the sights and sounds by the wine glass

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Until recently, the Lisboa wine region was known as Estremadura. It’s a long, narrow region that stretches west and north of the city of Lisbon. Grapes are primarily traditional Portuguese varieties — Arinto and Malvasia are popular white wine grapes, while Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet are just three of the popular reds.

The wines range from easy-drinking bubbles to crisp citrussy white wines and age-worthy reds. There’s even a gorgeous fortified wine found in Carcavelos, at the southernmost tip of the Lisboa region. American president Thomas Jefferson was a fan, and the Portuguese king presented it to the Beijing court in China in 1752.

As for the winery with the beautiful view? What it lacks in royal or presidential pedigree, it makes up in charm and quality. Ramilo Family Wines is a small, family-owned winery operated by two brothers, Pedro and Nuno Ramilo. They started the winery in 2013, with their father’s encouragement; the family has been making wine on their land at Colares, just outside of Lisbon, for four generations.

Alas, like so many Lisboa wines, the Ramilo lineup isn’t yet for sale in Alberta. For now, you’ll have to visit the family in Portugal to taste them.

I, for one, am already planning a return trip.

Can’t travel to Portugal right now?

You can try some of the wines without leaving home. Pick up all three and do a tasting at home. Maybe you’ll find  a new favourite.

Quinta de Chocapalha 2015 Vinho Tinto
(Lisboa, Portugal)
A rich, intense blend of indigenous Portuguese grape varietals, this red wine has notes of spice, plums and ripe cherries on the palate. Pair with red meats or grilled mushrooms, and cellar a bottle for a few years, too.

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