The Algarve presents itself as one of the regions with the greatest growth potential in Portugal.
Located in the south of mainland Portugal, the Algarve is separated from the Alentejo plain by an almost uninterrupted mountain range that runs from the Spanish border to the Atlantic coast.
The region enjoys a southerly location, protected by the Monchique mountains from the cold north winds, and its southern-facing aspect creates a favorable climate for grapevines.
The Algarve has been a demarcated wine region since 1980 and is divided into four appellations of origin (has four DOCs), Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira – whose catchment areas stretch along the coast from west to east – although most of the wine is sold under the name of Geographical Indication. Each area takes advantage of its own characteristic terroir, producing red, white, rose and liqueur wines. In addition, Vinho Regional Algarve (Algarve Regional Wine) is produced across the region.
3) CLIMATE & TERROIR
With its exceptional south-facing location, sunny, Mediterranean climate and sandy clay soil and shale, the Algarve have an excellent terroir for growing vines.
Its proximity to the ocean also makes the Algarve ideal for nurturing superior quality viniculture, as they also benefit from reliable rainfall blowing in from the Atlantic and the higher diurnal temperature variation which is standard for any elevated region.
The same bright sunshine, warm air and sea breeze which brings tourists here in their droves is precisely what grape vines require to give prolific yields and fruit with sky-high potential alcohol.
4) GRAPE VARIETIES
The Algarve’s vines have taken root all along the coastline, from Lagos in the west to Tavira in the east, producing a fascinating variety of red and white grapes.
Certified international and other Portuguese red grape varieties cultivated throughout the region also include Alicante-Bouschet, Aragonez, Baga, Crato Preto, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Trincadeira, Petit Verdot, Touriga Nacional. Negra Mole and Castelão.
White ones among others: Arinto, Crato Branco, Chardonnay, Fernão Pires, Malvasia Rei, Moscatel Graúdo, Perrum, Rabo-de-Ovelha, Síria, Malvasia Fina, Sauvignon Blanc and Manteúdo.
The new projects bet on Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and white Verdelho, together with the most prestigious international grape varieties such as Chardonnay and, the already mentioned, Syrah.
The wines of the Algarve mainly consist of reds and whites made mostly from ‘Tinta Negra Mole’ and ‘Crato Branco’ varietals respectively. The reds are soft and low in acidity due to the warm climate, with a defined color of garnet, and high in alcohol, the whites are also full-bodied with straw color, and best enjoyed served chilled.
The type of wine traditionally associated with the Algarve is highly potent, lacking in the refreshing acidity which would come in so handy here, and tastes slightly ‘baked’ – the result of all those hot nights.
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