TejoIn the region of Tejo, previously known as Ribatejo, the agriculture is an extensive one: fruit and vegetable products, rice, olive trees and vines fill the vast plains of the region.
The Tejo river is omnipresent all over the landscape, the main responsible for the clime, the soil and, therefore, the fertility of the region. Ribatejo has a Mediterranean climate, yet suffering the influence of the river, therefore the seasons are mild.
The Designation of Origin of Ribatejo has six sub-regions: Almeirim, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Santarém and Tomar. The soils vary according to the proximity of the river. The field or flatlands are very productive areas which lie along the waterfront. Due to the flooding of Tejo river, it is common that the vineyards in the area sometimes become completely submerged. On the right bank, above the soils along the river, lies an area in which the soils are poorer, of calcareous and clayey origin, arranged in uneven terrains, between hills and plains. The main crops in this area are the olive trees and the vineyards. From the left bank of Tejo to the southern regions near Alentejo there is an area designated as moor, where the soil is less productive and people explore cultures that need little water, such as vines and cork. Despite being a very dry area and presenting the highest temperatures of Ribatejo, grapes have better ripening conditions than in other areas of the region
Ribatejo was once famous for producing huge quantities of wine, supplying especially the restaurants and taverns of Lisbon.
The legislation for the region is somewhat restricted and allowed the introduction of Portuguese and foreign varieties. The red DOC wines of Ribatejo come not only from traditional varieties of the region (Trincadeira or Castelão) but also other noble varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. The most widely planted white grape variety in the region is Fernão Pires, being practically indispensable in the production of white wines in Ribatejo. Sometimes, it is packed with other varieties typical of the region, as Arinto, Tália, Trincadeira das Pratas, Vital or the international Chardonnay.
In the production of regional wine of Ribatejo, it’s allowed the use of varieties not permitted in the Designation of Origin. Thus, farmers can do more experiments with the soil, climate and grape varieties to produce unique wines. Moreover, Ribatejo has about 22,300 hectares of vineyards, although only 1850 are certified for the production of DOC wine.
Regardless of the DOC designation or Regional, the terroir of Ribatejo is felt in any wine of the region: very fruity white wines, with tropical or floral aromas, and young reds, aromatic and of soft tannins.
In addition to the restructuring of the region's vineyards, wineries and producers in the region changed and modernized the cellars. The large vats and cement tanks that produced millions of litters of wine were replaced by stainless steel tanks, cooling systems and oak barrels for aging the wine.
Tomar, founded in 1157, is dominated by the castle of 12th century, which contains the Christ Convent, classified World Heritage by UNESCO and one of the most emblematic monuments of Portuguese history.
The city of Santarém is full of churches. We recommend a visit the Seminar Church, Marvila Church, Cabaças Tower, the Museological Core of Time and to the Archaeological Museum.
The centre of the city of Tomar consists of narrow streets. The busiest street is Rua Serpa Pinto that leads to the Church of São João Baptista, in República Square. We recommend a visit also to the Convent of Christ, the Synagogue and the Portuguese-Hebrew Museum of Abraham Zacuto.
Santarém Station, National road 365, +351 243 321199 / Várzea Grande Station, Tomar, +351 249 312815. More info.: www.cp.pt.
Tourism region of Ribatejo, Rua Capelo Ivens, 63,
+351 243 304437 / Municipal tourism office,