Algarve

Algarve

Algarve.jpgVines love Portugal's southernmost region for the same reason the tourists do - it's never too hot, never too cold, and they can be sure to enjoy more than 3,000 hours of sunshine every year.

Over the last 50 years, many vineyards in the Algarve have made way for golf courses, hotel complexes, avocado and citrus trees. But now, just a little way inland from the coast, new vineyards have been planted – Portuguese grapes as well as the likes of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There has also been investment in wineries.

Only one wine co-operative is still in action, in Lagoa, but there are new private estates, and quality is looking increasingly good. The wines have a ready market amongst tourists, as well as in export markets.

 


The Algarve has a prominent ambassador in the British pop star Sir Cliff Richard, who owns a wine estate there.

Wine styles

You might expect this southern-most region to be Portugal’s hottest, but the sea keeps it cooler than the southern part of the Alentejo, just over the scenic hills of the northern Algarve, so that Algarve whites as well as rosés can be fresh and appealing, reds aromatic and elegant.

Sub-regions

There are four DOCs: Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira, but the best wines tend to be Vinho Regional Algarve, which take advantage of the flexible rules and a wider and more interesting selection of permitted grape varieties.


Main white grapes:

  • Siria, Arinto and Malvasia Fina (the latter only in Lagos)

Main red grapes:

  • Negra Mole, Trincadeira and Castelão