The Setúbal Peninsula is the Portuguese wine region immediately southeast of Lisbon, across the Tejo estuary. The terroir in the area ranges from sandy coastal plains to the craggy, limestone-rich Serra Arribida hills. The area is known for its dry red wines made from Castelão, and for its fortified wines and sweet Moscatel de Setúbal.
The wines produced here are made under three titles: two DOCs, Palmela and Setúbal, and one IGP. The IGP (formerly VR, or Vinho Regional) has been officially named "Peninsula de Setúbal" since 2008, but before that was known as VR Terras do Sado, meaning "lands of the river Sado". The Sado is one of Portugal's major rivers, and flows north from the Caldeirão hills to Setúbal city, on the southern edge of the eponymous peninsula.
The Setúbal Peninsula's two DOC titles cover a similar area, but encompass different styles of wine. Palmela covers both the sandy plains and the hills, while Setúbal covers the land on the hills. The Castelão grape which comprises the majority of Palmela wines performs admirably on the dry, sandy soils, which is one of the few terroirs in Portugal where it can reach full ripeness. The variety must make up 67 percent of the wines, while other Portuguese and international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional and Syrah are planted on the hills and make up the remainder of the wines.
The other DOC covering the peninsula, Setúbal, is for sweet fortified wines made from Muscat of Alexandria, here known as Moscatel de Setúbal. These are made slightly differently from Portugal's most famous fortified wine, Port, in that leftover grape skins are added to the wine after mutage. This gives Setúbal wines a distinctively floral character.
In addition to the two DOCs, a wide range of wines are made under the Peninsula de Setúbal IGP title from a number of international varieties.