Wine-growing region – Trás-os-Montes
Stretching up the Rio Douro in the north of Portugal into the Transmontana area is the Trás-os-Montes district.
The soils are the bedrock of Portuguese wines, and the north is dominated by granite. The cultivated areas are also rich in schist which brings some astringency to the wines of this area. Due to the quite different micro-climates (altitude, sun exposition, temperature, rain) wide ranges of wine come from this region (Chaves, Valpaços, and Mirandês plateau). The region produces from somewhat coarse and very alcoholic wine to light sparkling and semi-sweet wine (Muscat).
A label to try is Valle Pradinhos.
Also very known from this region there is a bunch of good wine spirits (double or triple destilated aguardentes).
This is a land of tradition with its own language -Mirandês- and peculiar folklore of Celtic (bagpipes), and pagan (carnival masquerades on winter solstice, the caretos), traditions. On top of that they preserve a very good food tradition where you must try the charcoal grilled maronesa beef (posta à Mirandesa), the pork with chestnuts (porco com castanhas), and smoked/cured sausages -pork (chouriço, paio) and poultry (alheira).
This is a land of beautiful towns and villages made of granite: take a look at Bragança, Chaves, with its roman and medieval remains, Vila Real, with its beautiful Mateus P alace, and the nearby Amarante. Traveling here during the blossom of the countless almond trees is fantastic.
This is a land of contrasts: the temperature amplitude, from the very cold winters to the very hot summers; landscape, from the dry and rough Mirandês plateau to the very green areas. Among these I will stress the mountain range of Marão and Alvão, and strongly recommend a visit to the Fisgas do Ermelo the highest waterfall in the Iberian Peninsula.