Tavora Varosa

Távora-Varosa

Tavora.jpgThis is a small, remote, mountainous region in the north of the VR Beiras, bordering on the Douro to the north, and the Dão region to the south.

Vines were first planted in what is now DOC Távora-Varosa by Cistercian monks, who built monasteries and churches amongst the vines. Hence the name of this new Vinho Regional (covering precisely the same area as the DOC): Terras de Cister (Cistercian Country).



Region and Climate

The region is to be found up and over the mountains to the south of the Douro, at the southern foot of the Serra da Nave, between the Paiva and Távora rivers. It’s a remote and beautiful place, barely skirted by the new road running south from Vila Real in the Douro to Viseu in the Dão. Countless smallholdings are cut into terraces clinging to steep hillsides, and most of the population makes a living from farming vines, maize, potatoes or apples, some also produce charcuterie, or bake – cakes, pies, biscuits and sweets.

Winters here are cold and wet, summers hot and dry, but this is high country, with vines at an average altitude of 550 metres above sea level on granite and schist soils. It is far harder to ripen grapes than in the nearby Douro and Dão regions. High and therefore cool at night, the grapes retain acidity and bright fruit.

Grapes

Half the grapes in the older vineyards are Malvasia Fina, but for a century or more Távora-Varosa has also had significant plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (two of the major grapes of the Champagne region of France) and more are being planted.


This is perfect country for growing grapes for sparkling wines. Indeed, Távora-Varosa was the first region in Portugal to be demarcated for sparkling wines in 1989.

There are also fresh, upland reds and whites, however with the exception of the sparkling wines, most DOC Távora-Varosa is still sold locally. 


Main white grapes:

  • Malvasia Fina, Chardonnay, Pinot Branco, Cerceal, Gouveio, Bical, Fernão Pires

Main red grapes:

  • Aragonez, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional