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This large fruit- and vegetable-growing region upstream of Lisbon, whose name means the banks of the river Tagus, is an important source of basic blending wine (together with the Estremadura region between it and the Atlantic). Much of the wine produced here is relatively light, but that can be a blessing relative to some of Portugal's more austere or more alcoholic wine styles. Co-operatives rule the roost, but sometimes benevolently as witness keenly priced reds carrying names such as Almeirim, Cartaxo and Santarém. Most common Portuguese grapes here are the juicy red Trincadeira Preta and the one variously known as Periquita, Castelão (Francês) and João de Santarém although this fertile region, recipient of many an EU subsidy, is also one of relatively few Portuguese wine areas to be seriously experimenting with international grape varieties. Monte d’Oiro has had success with its Syrah while Quinta de Pancas’ Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection shows that there is real potential here.

In a nutshell

Producing less wine than it used to but from increasingly high quality varieties.