The Transmontano wine region of Portugal is divided into three sub-regions. These subregions are Chaves, Valpacos, and Planalto Mirandes, where they producea a wide range of wines at differing altitudes. The cool, high altitudes produce wines that are light and fresh. The lower altitude areas produce wines that are full-bodied and higher in alcohol. From light-bodied to full-bodied and highly alcoholic wines, Transmontano has something for everyone.
The Transmontano wine region provides wine lovers with the widest possible range of Portuguese wines. These wines are unique in that they are grown in some of the driest and harshest conditions in Portugal. Despite this, the wines are packed with flavor and a pleasure to drink.
What you Should Know about Transmontano Wine Region
The Transmontano wine region is located on the eastern side of the mountains in the Douro Valley, which separates Portugal and Spain. Since the first signs of civilization in this region, winemaking has been a vital part of the economy. The shallow granite soil of the region did not prove ideal for livestock and crops but is perfect for the growing of vines. Transmontano is the driest wine region of Portugal which means that the yields are always low. The result of this is that although Transmontano has plenty of vines compared to other Portuguese wine regions, it does not produce as much wine.
The vineyards of the Transmontano region are mainly planted along the banks of the Douro, Sabor, Tua, and Tamega rivers. The varying altitudes at which the vines are planted, mean that the Transmontano region produces a wide range of different wines. Within the region, a range of local and international white and red grape varietals are grown.
The Transmontanot wine region is further divided into three sub-regions: Planalto Mirandes, Valpacos, and Chaves. Planalto Mirandes is located on a high plateau where the Douro river runs towards the border with Spain. Valpacos is in the center of the Transmontano region and Chaves borders with Spain in the north of the region.
White Varieties: Codega do Larinho, Malvasia Fina, Fernao Pires, Gouveio, Rabigato, Siria, Voisinho
What to Expect from Transmontano Wines
The Transmontano wine region is home to the production of red, white, sparkling, and rosé wines. Within this appellation, an eau-de-vie is also produced.
Transmontano red wines are known for being very dark in color. The white wines can be described as refreshing and easy to drink. They are light in taste and are perfect for warm spring and summer Portuguese evenings. Transmontano rose wines carry the aromas of raspberries, currants, and other red fruits. These wines are fresh with flavors of wildflowers. The rose wines have a moderate level of acidity.
Because the vineyards of the Transmontano wine region are planted at high altitudes, they are exposed to cooler climates. Vines at these altitudes result in the production of wines that are light bodied. Vines in the Transmontano region that are planted at lower altitudes, produce wines that are full bodied. These wines also have higher levels of alcohol.
Where to go in Transmontano
Braganca – The medieval town of Branganca
Braganca is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal. This medieval town is situated on the highest grounds of the Transmontano wine region. When visiting Braganca, the most popular attractions to see are the Castle of Braganca, the pentagonal granite Domus Municipal, the Citadel, and the Museu do Abade de Bacal. If possible, try to fit in a trip to the Se Velha de Braganca – a cathedral built in 200, and the Museu Militar de Braganca.
Chaves – Travel back into the Roman times
Chaves is a town located in the north of Portugal. Chaves is unique in that it has been inhabited since the Roman times. At Chaves, the Romans built a city around the natural thermal springs. Today, the remains of the Roman settlers are still evident in the stone bridge that is inscribed with Latin text. In Chaves, the sites that should not be missed include the Roman Bridge of Chaves, the Praca de Camoes, the Museu da Regiao Flaviense, Igreja de Sant Maria Maior, the Castle of Chaves, Igreja da Misericordia de Chaves, Jardim Publico de Chaves and the Forte de Sao Neutal.
Experience the Magic of Miranda do Douro
Miranda do Douro is an ancient city in the Transmontano wine region. This city was once the home of Roman settlers and was later occupied by the Arabs. The location of Miranda do Douro, near to the Spanish border, means that it was once an important line of defence. This role means that today there are beautiful remains of the old castle and the fort walls. Miranda do Douro is best known for its colourful and magical folk lore. When visiting Miranda do Douro make sure that you have the chance to see the Pauliteiros de Miranda perform their stick dance to the music of bagpipes while wearing traditional kilts. A true sight to behold!
Discover Natural Beauty of the Region
The location of the Transmontano wine region means that it is surrounded by breath taking mountain ranges. Transmontano is a high land of wild countryside’s, hot summers and ice-cold winters. Lose yourself in the mountains of Transmontano and find more than you bargain for.
Montesinho Natural Park
One of the largest Natural Parks in Portugal
The Montesinho Natural Park is one of the largest natural parks in Portugal. This natural park is perfectly located in the Transmontano wine region. The Montesinho Natural Park is where one can find the most extraordinary little villages tucked into small corners of nature. These villages and their villagers have become part of the surrounding valleys and mountains. When visiting the Montesinho Natural Park there are a number of incredible sites to see including the deep valleys and gorges; the clear rivers; the local villages; an interpretation centre and various places to swim. For those who would like to spend extra time in the Montesinho Natural Park there are a number of accommodation facilities within the park.
Alvao Natural Park – A haven for endangered species
The Alvao Natural Park is located between Vila Real and Mondim de Basto. This beautiful park covers only 70 square kilometers of land. Despite its small size, it is home to a number of endangered animal and bird species. One of the biggest attractions of Alvao Natural Park is the Fisgas do Ermelo – one of Europe’s biggest and most impressive waterfalls. For those looking to escape the city and enjoy nature, the Alvao Natural Park has a range of walking paths of different lengths and levels of difficulty. On these walks, look out for wild cats and wolves! Be sure to pack your bathing suit to enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the various waterfalls and lagoons in the park.
Cuisine of Transmontano
The food of the Transmontano wine region reflects the working-class nature of its people. Don’t be fooled though – this does not mean that the compromise on their taste, flavor, and fresh ingredients used. Transmontano cuisine is filled with delicious and heart-warming cuisine that provides all-day sustenance. Enjoy these local dishes paired with the best of local wines for a once in a lifetime food and wine experience.
Folar de Valpacos – Portuguese Easter Bread
Folar de Valpacos is a traditional bread of Portugal. This bread is normally baked and enjoyed during the Easter period. Traditional Folar de Valpacos is made of locally produced olive oil, eggs and flour. The bread casing is then filled with a range of pork products including minced pork meat, bacon, pork shoulder, ham and sausages. In 2016 Folar de Valpacos was awarded the status of Protected Geographical Indication by the European Commission. Feel part of the local community and share in Folar de Valpacos when visiting Portugal.
Pastel de Chaves – The Clam-Shaped Puff Pastry Treats
Pastel de Chaves is a local delicacy of the Transmontano wine region. These flavourful treats are clam-shaped puff pastry shells filled with a combination of veal, bread, and onions. The history of Pastel de Chaves dates back to 1862 when they were first sold in the town of Chaves. Chaves is now famous for these delicious pastries and is licensed as the only place where Pastel de Chaves can be made and sold. Today, Chaves produces more than 25 000 Pastel de Chaves per day. Bite into a Pastel de Chaves and discover what all the fuss is about.