by Paullette Gaudet

Portugal's Tejo Wine Region_blogPortugal has been quietly producing a wide range of vibrant and affordable wines for several years now, most hailing from the central, landlocked wine region of Tejo. Formerly (until 2009) known as Ribatejo, the region's new name honors the Tejo river—the longest on the Iberian peninsula—which defines the local terroir and provides natural irrigation to vines planted near its banks. Not far from the capital city of Lisbon, the Tejo region dates its winemaking from the year 1170, before the Portuguese kingdom itself was founded. It features over thirty thousand acres of native cork forests, which account for almost half of the world's cork production. A strong community aspect is still apparent at regional wineries featuring lagares, which are large, shallow concrete or stone tanks where the grape harvest is crushed by foot! The Tejo river is responsible for the region's diverse and fertile soils, as well as tempering its Mediterranean-style climate. The region supports rice, fruit crops and olive trees in addition to its stellar grape varietals.

Regional historic highlights include the medieval city of Santarém, which overlooks the Tejo river and boasts the largest number of Gothic churches in any Portuguese city, and the Convento de Cristo, original fortress of the Knights Templar, located in the mountain foothill city of Tomar. The Tejo region is also where the famed "dancing" Lusitano horse breed originated, and many wineries still stable Lusitanos and provide dressage areas for them on their grounds. Has this region's sunny climate and colorful history made you curious—and thirsty for a plummy, floral-spiced red? Try a glass of our shipment's Lobo e Falcão 2015 Vinho Regional Tejo IGT, Portugal while you look for your passport, and consider a Portuguese winery tour as your next vacation!