Portugal’s Douro wine region gets almost all the attention in the United States, but vintners up and down the country produce excellent wines. One of the loveliest wine regions, Setúbal, is less than an hour south of central Lisbon. There, on the edge of the Parque Natural da Arrábida, breezes off the Atlantic cool the vineyards, ensuring that grapes maintain their acidity as they ripen in the ample sun.
I organized our winery visits with Wine Tourism Portugal, which arranged for an English-speaking driver and a luxury sedan at a very reasonable price. The company also customized the standard Setúbal excursion for us to include a broader range of wines to taste than usual.
If you visit only one winery on the Setúbal Peninsula, make it the Quinta da Bacalhôa, now owned by the Berardo family. We started with a tour of the 15th-century palace, the vaulted basement of which displays impressive pieces from the Berardo Collection, perhaps the most important private art collection in Portugal. A beautiful pavilion clad in original tiles overlooks an exquisite formal garden and vineyards beyond. Back at the tasting room, we sampled wines that ranged from a tart but refined white blend to a ripe and well-balanced Merlot. The fortified Moscatel was delightfully light on its feet, and I loved the deep and complex 2002 Moscatel Roxo Superior, aged in whiskey barrels.