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Setubal Peninsula

The Setúbal Peninsula is directly south of Lisbon and is linked to the city by two bridges across the estuary of the River Tagus. Much of the area is flat and sandy, with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida, a mountain range running along the south coast of the peninsula, where the soils are limestone and clay-limestone. It is on these Serra da Arrábida slopes that the grapes are grown for the famous Moscatel de Setúbal wines. There are two DOCs, Setúbal and Palmela. Setúbal is sweet and fortified, made primarily from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. It can only be labeled Moscatel de Setúbal when Muscat makes up more than 85 per cent of the blend. This is a very sweet, fragrant wine, with candied orange and raisin flavours, floral when young, developing nutty, toffee aromas with maturity. Moscatel Roxo (a pink grape) makes wines more scented. DOC Palmela is mainly red, and based on the late-ripening Castelão grape, which prefers the hot, sandy soils of Palmela, ripening well to make wines with depth, elegance and balance, with good cherry fruit flavours.