The Tejo region - formerly Ribatejo - is located in the heart of Portugal, northeast of Lisbon, and stretches along both banks of the River Tejo. The area is also known as the 'Garden of Portugal', because a lot of fruit and vegetables are grown on the fertile alluvial soils deposited by the river. In the warm continental climate with limited cooling Atlantic influences, vines grow mostly on limestone and sandy soils. Tejo has a wide range of grape varieties to offer. Quality white wines are produced from Fernao Pires and Arinto but Talia - the colloquial name for Ugni Blanc - is also grown here. The red wines are dominated by Touriga Nacional, Castelao, also known as Periquita, and Trincadeira. However, international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have also found their way here. The Tejo river often floods during wet weather and as the sub-soil of the vineyards tends to hold a good supply of water, low-lying vines tend to produce high yields. The wines of the Tejo used to be rather rough and rustic, but with modern winemaking techniques and facilities this is increasingly changing. There are two quality designations within the region Tejo VR, a generic classification utilised by the many local co-operatives for their wines and the higher level Tejo DOC with the best wines coming from higher limestone-rich Bairro area with its faster draining, less fertile soils.
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