More than 40,000 hectares of vines puts the Douro at the forefront of Portuguese wine regions for scale alone. And the rugged splendour of the valley can be visually spectacular: its waves of contoured vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Despite the "Three months of winter and nine months of hell" description of the climate here, the Douro is a lot more diverse than often assumed, with three distinct sub regions (Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior), and vast differences in terroir according to vineyard aspect, altitude, and to a degree, soil type.
And where once Port was the overwhelming raison d'être of the Valley, honours are shared between what remains one of the world's great fortified wines, and ever more sophisticated reds and whites.
The Douro's reputation for unfortified wine is writ large by two producers: Niepoort and Quinta do Vale Meao. Both are utterly different and compellingly brilliant.
They've now been joined in the portfolio by younger guns Quinta de Macedos, Conceito Vinhos and the community of Lavradores de Feitoria.