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Algarve: A flourishing wine region

Algarve: A flourishing wine region
You may know Portugal’s Algarve region as the idyllic beach destination for year-round sunshine with its sensational coastline, picture-perfect golf courses, and golden sands tipping out into deep blue waters. But have you heard about its rising vineyards? Come, grab a glass with us!
Portugal’s viniculture history stems as far back as 2000 B.C., when the first vines were planted. The conditions were perfect: a fertile terroir, temperate climate, and of course, the sunshine that the grapes could soak up.
The ancient Romans, Greeks, and Celts all contributed to the country’s historic winemaking, but it was only in the 18th century that it became eponymous with port, aided by the British’s profound taste for madeira, the fortified wine that can be kept for hundreds of years.
Photograph of some wine vineyards in the Algarve region of Portugal

Winemaking traditions

Vinho Verde and Douro are two of the few places in the world where grapes are still pressed by foot. Here, you’ll find full-bodied reds, much like a cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, from the fine grapes of touriga macional and the touriga francesa, and the varieties of tinta roriz, tinta cão, and tinta barroca.
This northwest region had the stronghold on Portugal’s winemaking traditions for centuries, but that’s now changing.
A deep appreciation for traditional winemaking has reached Portugal’s southernmost region in the last fifty years, and there’s been increased investment in wine technology and wineries in the Algarve.
Photograph of some steps leading down to the beach and sea in Lago in the Algarve

Shaped by the elements

The Algarve’s wine scene predominantly used to be in the sandy, clay soils along the coast, but today you’ll see an increasing number of vineyards in the area known as the barrocal, between the coast and the rugged uplands, where the soil quality is superior.
The cooling breeze of the Atlantic Ocean freshens the vineyards, while lower temperatures here delay the maturation of the grapes, which reduces the wine’s acidity. Winemakers safeguard the grapes from the sun’s radiant rays by creating canopies from the vine’s own leaves.
Today’s industry revolves around four main wine-producing areas: Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa, and Tavira, and wines from here are usually of low acidity. They receive a quality and distinction certification called Designated Origin (DO), and you can find these wines labelled with the Geographical Indication (GI), Algarve Regional.
There are now over 2,000 vineyards within the Algarve, and over 30 producers. You can enjoy vineyard tours and wine-tasting experiences at a number of family-run wineries and, if you’re keen to be around for the harvest, then we suggest you plan your visit anytime from late July to early September.
An image of a glass of red wine and white wine and some grapes

A smooth sip

There’s been a renewed focus on distinctive taste and character, which are delivered by premium and native grape varieties, such as negra mole, castelão and trincadeira that serve up smooth, red wines with a fruity aroma, and the arinto, síria and malvasia fina grapes, which in turn deliver delicate and mellow white wines. You’ll also find incredible rosé wines, particularly from the castelão and touriga franca varieties. In recent years, it’s been common to find late-harvest and sparkling wines too.
The Algarve wine trail takes you to both the newest and award-winning wineries, all amid beautiful coastal landscapes.
There’s no better place for a visit than Quinta dos Vales, one of the most prized and awarded wineries in the Algarve, with its main brands Marquês dos Vale and DIALOG. The whites are epic, and the wine cellars and artistic landscaped gardens are definitely worth exploring! Its passion has helped it win the Best Wine in Portugal: Algarve award in recent years.
You can also visit Adega do Cantor, the ‘winery of the singer’, named so because it’s owned by Cliff Richards! Other notable wineries that offer tours include: Herdade Barranco do Vale, family-owned Quinta da Vinha (with their brand Cabrita Wines), and Quinta De Matas-Mouros, which is situated in a former convent.
While the Algarve wine scene has reawakened, incredibly, many of these award-winning wines are still only sold on the local market. Naturally, a Sovereign Luxury Travel holiday is the perfect opportunity to enjoy them at source - and it’s the ideal time to grab yourself a few great value bottles before they enter the global limelight!

Add a touch of luxury with Sovereign                

Are you ready for a taste of the Algarve? At Sovereign Luxury Travel we have over 50 years’ experience in tailormade luxury holidays. We take care of all the finer details, so you don’t have to. Our Personal Travel Planners are on hand every step of the way to ensure your luxury holiday is memorable and enjoyable.
Visit sovereign.com to start planning your next luxury escape today!
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