Prestigious wines from the Algarve
When you think of Portugal, you think of sweet port rather than wine. However, Portugal cannot be underestimated when it comes to fantastic wines that are increasingly winning prizes at international wine competitions, and the wines from the Algarve are part of this list time and again.
Ancient wine stumps
Excavations have been found showing that wine was already being grown in abundance in the Algarve in Roman times. This is not for nothing as the soil and sunny climate are perfectly suited to harvest beautiful full-bodied grapes.
The 1980s saw the rise of tourism, forcing many vineyards to make way for the construction of golf courses, resorts and citrus orchards. The remaining vineyards were neglected, often as descendants went to work in the tourism industry.
If you are in the Lagoa area, you will still see lands left and right with old vine stumps, and even some of the knotty plants sprouting in spring.
Fortunately, many of these old groves are being saved from ruin. Investors have rediscovered the region and have the means to employ modern techniques to take the flavour of the grapes to an even higher level. Renowned oenologists are also attracted to create the most refined wine flavours.
An example of such an investor is the famous singer Cliff Richard who revitalised a large vineyard in Guia. The name of the winery is ‘Adega do Cantor’.
In the last 15 years, quite a few vineyards have been added and a large number have been restored. More and more wine connoisseurs are choosing Portugal as a destination to taste wines made from special indigenous grape varieties.
Within the Algarve, there are now four sub-regions with DOP status. Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira. Wine with this status must meet a number of strict quality requirements including the grape varieties allowed, cultivation, yield, harvesting and ageing. Mostly red wines are produced but white wines are also on the rise and are definitely worth trying.
Walking through the vineyards
The proud wineries would like to introduce us to these rising wines by inviting you to their estates.
A visit to such a vineyard is a nice and meaningful use of a holiday day. It is also a pleasant way to get in touch with Portuguese culture. From the end of July, the first grapes are harvested. From then until September is a good period to see how this takes place.
Browse the websites of the following wineries to find out what events they offer;
Silves: Morgado do Quintao , Cabrita wines or Quinta de Outeiro
Odelouca: Quinta do Frances
Estombar: Quinta dos Vales
Guia: Adega do Cantor
Loulé: Quinta da Tor
Organised wine excursions are also offered through https://www.viator.com or https://www.algarvewinetours.com.pt/the-tours/ In some excursions, you also visit a beautiful town or nature reserve nearby.
Shelves full of corked bottles
If you are not in a position to visit an adega, you can indulge in a liquor store or in one of the Portuguese supermarkets. They have a large part of their shop decorated with brands from all over Portugal and often a special section for wines from the Algarve. Nice touch is that the quality wines are often very affordable. The bottles still have a cap made of cork as it is also a national product. It is a durable material and uncorking still gives the nostalgic ‘plop’ sound when opening.
All in all, even more reasons to spend your holidays in the sunny Algarve and enjoy all the beauty this piece of southern Europe has to offer over a good glass of wine.