Setúbal Portuguese Wine Region – A Sunny Place for Moscatel

Setúbal Portuguese Wine Region

Setúbal Peninsula lies across the estuary of the River Tejo directly south of Lisbon, linking the capital to the south by two bridges.

Much of the area is flat and sandy, except for Serra da Arrábida: a short chain of mountains running along the peninsula’s where the soils are limestone or clay-limestone. It is in its slopes, that the famous sweet grapes of Setúbal Moscatel grow.

The climate is the Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild but rainy winters. Vineyards in the Serra da Arrábida are cooler, owing to the higher altitude and the proximity of the sea.

The Vinho Regional was recently renamed Península de Setúbal (formerly called ‘Terras do Sado’ due to the Sado river that flows through the southern part of the region). There are two DOCs, Setúbal and Palmela.

Setúbal wine is sweet and fortified, made primarily from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. It can be labelled Moscatel de Setúbal when Muscat makes up more than 85% of the blend.

When young, it’s a very sweet, fragrant wine with candied orange, floral and raisiny flavours; with time, it develops and matures nutty, toffee aromas. Moscatel Roxo, a pink variety of Moscatel, makes wines even more scented.

DOC Palmela wines are mainly red and based on the late ripening of the Castelão grape. This grape is more at home in the hot, sandy soils of Palmela than anywhere else in Portugal. It ripens well ripening and makes wines of complexity and depth, elegance and balance, with good cherry fruit.

Food Pairings

Wines with less acidity and smoother from wine regions of Setúbal Península pair with less intense meat and fish dishes, cooked in a more natural way, such as the grilled ones, with little to no pugency – a balanced combination that prevents the food from overlapping the wine.

Find these wines:

The main producer of Setúbal Portuguese Wine Region is Casa Dona Ermelinda Freitas. Find its wines here with special attention to the Moscatel ones.

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