The Rio Douro (golden river) lends its name to the north-eastern part of Portugal. This wine-growing territory has been known for its wines for more than 2,000 years, especially for the very

special vinho do Porto, which is better known as port or port wine.Whilst port has been made here for centuries it seems as if far more table wines are now also being made in the Douro valley. In recent years indeed there has been more unfortified wine produced than port. The vineyards of the Upper Douro start about 62 miles (100 km inland of the harbour town of Porto. The majority of them are sited on hills of basalt and granite. The climate is fairly dry of the semi-continental type with fairly big temperature ranges between the hot summers and cold winters.

Good quality red and white wines are produced here, varying in style depending on the variety of grapes used and the wishes of the wine-maker. The choice for white wines is made from Malvasia Pina, Rabigato, Viosinho, Donzelinho, Verdelho, and many others. The red wine grapes are Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Prancisca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinto cao. Although the different types of Douro wine vary widely there has been an enormous leap forward in their quality in recent decades. Douro Branco is a fresh lively and sometimes very aromatic wine with a delicate and refined taste. It is certainly not a heavy wine. This wine must be at least 11 % alcohol and it is required to have aged for at least nine months in the bottle before being sold. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C) .

Douro Tinto exists in many styles. Some of them are young, fruity, almost playful, while others are intentionally more robust and powerful. This depends on the grapes used, method of vinification, and length of cask maturing that has been undergone. All Douro reds must be at least eighteen months old before they may be sold and contain at least 11 % alcohol. Whichever Douro you may choose, they are always surprisingly good value for money.

The modern style wines are very colourful and fruity.They are velvet smooth, juicy, and very tasty. The traditional style wines are fairly dark, very aromatic, often somewhat rustic with hints of terroir including granite. Drinking temperature is 53.6-57.2°F (12- 14°C ) for the modern-style wines and 57.2- 62.6°F (14-17°C) for the traditional ones.