Palmela European City of Wine 2012

The town of Palmela in Portugal’s Setùbal Peninsular is the European city of wine in 2012. This is the first edition of this event which will bring many festivities to the town of Palmela and Setùbal Peninsular region. This area of Portugal has a lot to offer people visiting the country. Its proximity to Lisbon, the beaches, national park, golf courses, food and, of course, wine make it a fabulous place to see for a day or much longer.

Having lived in the area for some time now, I can say it is a great choice of city. The variety of wines, if you look hard enough, in the Setubal Peninsula are quite astounding. The main grapes of the region are Moscatel which is usually used to make a sweet fortified wine, but also used to provide floral accents as blend in many white wines of the area. The main red grape is Castelão. Although this grape is able to be found in many regions in Portugal, its home is the Setubal Peninsula. This grape provides the backbone to just about all the red wines of the region. Both grapes are quite suited to the predominately sandy soil in the region.

Many other grapes grow here. One of the largest collection of grape varieties in the world exists in probably the most famous winery of the region, Jose Maria da Fonseca. Here they have well over 300 different varieties planted in the families estates. The other grapes to look out for in this region are Aragonez, known as Tempranillo in Spain, which provides some oomph and earthiness to the blended red wines. However I find the Fernão Pires grape the most interesting in the region. It is a white grape often used in blends, however I think it makes a great single varietal white wine.

So if you are planning a trip in 2012, put Palmela and the Setubal Peninsula on your list. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Wine a Day offers tours to the region both half and full day trips. We hope to see you here soon!

By Chris Metcalfe


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