Sparkling Wines - Portugal
Espumante is a type of Portuguese sparkling wine similar to Spanish cava. Unlike cava, which is only produced in the coldest regions of Spain, Espumante is produced in various regions of Portugal, including the humid Minho region, the Vinho Verde production area in the north, and as far south as the arid and hot Alentejo region.
In Spain, cava is regulated by a DOC council that spans several regions, while the production of similarly high-quality sparkling wine in Portugal is limited to the Bairrada denomination, located in southern Minho. To obtain the Bairrada Espumante denomination, the wine must be produced according to the traditional Champagne method and carry the VEQPRD (Vinho Espumante de Qualidade Produzido de Região Déterminada) certification, which indicates the harvest year.
VFQPRD wines are regional sparkling wines that are produced using one of three methods and are made in specific regions such as Dão, Douro, Ribatejo, Minho, Alentejo or Estremadura. On the other hand, VQPRD wines can be produced anywhere in Portugal using the Champagne, closed tank, or transfer methods. Sparkling wines produced by CO2 injection are considered of lower quality and are the most affordable.
Bairrada and Távora-Varosa are two Portuguese regions known for producing high-quality sparkling wines. Murganheira is a prominent example of a high-quality sparkling wine from the Távora-Varosa region. These wines are made following the traditional Champagne method, which involves a second fermentation in the bottle. The process is more expensive and time-consuming than other methods, but results in a wine with a more complex and refined flavor.
In summary, Espumante is a Portuguese sparkling wine similar to Spanish cava. The production of similarly high-quality sparkling wine in Portugal is limited to the Bairrada denomination and is governed by the VEQPRD certification. VFQPRD and VQPRD wines are made in specific regions and using different methods. The highest quality sparkling wines come from the Bairrada and Távora-Varosa regions and are made following the traditional Champagne method, like Murganheira. Sparkling wine production by CO2 injection is considered of lower quality.