It’s so true there’s no wine region in Portugal like the Douro Valley! And by saying this we are stressing the difference of landscape between the Douro region and all other also beautiful wine regions in Portugal. And are there comparable wine regions in the world? The Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated and regulated wine region in the world, since it was so decreed by D.José’s Prime Minister, later named Marquês do Pombal, in 1756. It has been well-known for its unique Porto wines but what else makes it so special? Can anyone visit it and feel indifferent?
The geomorphic features grant it the monumentality of the mountains. And then the stone-walled or non-walled terraced vineyards planted in their steep slopes, either ascending towards the summits or descending and diving into deep valleys are utterly beautiful. The climate and the various micro-climates are generically described as Mediterranean, dry very hot summers, cold scarcely rainy winters. There is no wine region in Portugal, whose culture and people can be more connected to the vineyards and the wine than this. Its old vineyards are also a treasure of native grape varieties. And its Porto and still wines are very good representatives of all this uniqueness.
Miguel Torga, one of our best writers, in one of his books ( Portugal), portrays it in this way:” The Douro region is… on the map of our allotted smallness, the only immeasurable evidence with which we can amaze the world” (hope the translation is not too bad). In 2001, the UNESCO granted the Douro Valley the award of Humanity World Heritage, as a living, evolutional, cultural landscape.
It’s here that we return to the earth and its natural rythms, under the changing pulse of the day and the night, under the sun or the moon and the stars, away from the city lights…
You will understand it all when you visit it. The Douro Valley is a unique scenery and a dramatic one, too. An analytical eye will immediately perceive the aggressive austerity of the mountain, on the one hand, and mingled together on the other hand, will get amazed at the boldness, the iron-like determination and heroic labour of the people who humanized and still humanize the mountain giant. There would be a lot more to tell about the Douro Valley and so, if it pleases you, read more in: