Beira Interior

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Beira Interior, large, diverse, but sparsely planted dop in central Portugal, with three subregions. Both Castel Rodrigo and Pinhel have vineyards up to 700 m/2,296 ft elevation, shallow granite-based soils, and a harsh continental climate. Old síria vines can make racy, mineral whites. Attaining phenolic ripeness is challenging for reds, the best of which include Touriga Nacional and/or Alfrocheiro. In the warmer, lower south, Cova de Beira is in the lee of Portugal’s highest mountain range, the Serra da Estrela. The best wines are reds, typically made from the varieties favoured in neighbouring Alentejo. Individual estates have started to exploit the potential of terroir here but in 2014 indifferent wines from local co-operatives still predominated.