Regions and Appellations Portugal Algarve

Algarve Wine

Algarve ('the Algarve' to most English speakers) is the southernmost wine region of Portugal, and the far southwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It is more widely known for its beaches and thriving tourist industry than its wines. Although a small quantity of fresh-styled white wines are made here, the wines of the Algarve are predominantly red, and made from classic Portuguese varieties like Castelão and Touriga Nacional, as well as more international varieties like Syrah.

The region's wines are produced largely by a by a small number of upscale co-operatives, although the fashion for independent producers is catching on quickly. Traditionally Algarve wines have been high in alcohol, the result of a warm, maritime climate – just 125 miles (200km) separates Algarve's easternmost vineyards (in Tavita) from Tangiers, on the north coast of Africa.

Adega do Cantor vineyards, Algarve

The Vitis vinifera vine thrives here in the Algarve climate, which is as well suited to the vine's long-term needs as it is to the short-term needs of humans. 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. But while the human contingent here is happily self-irrigating, and retreats to air-conditioned comfort at night, the vines are left outside to swelter in the warm night air.

Although seemingly perfect, these climatic conditions serve to accelerate the vine growing season, bringing the grapes to their juicy, sweet potential before they have had a chance to develop much depth of flavor. They also trade their natural acids for sugars as they ripen, so by the end of the season their juice is full of sugar (potential alcohol) and little else. Thus 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.

The soils here in the Algarve are highly varied, and include limestone-rich clays, sandstone and sandier soils closer to the coastline. Some vineyards even benefit from free-draining, mineral-rich schists. These are the lucky few, 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.

Algarve has four DOCs – Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira – whose catchment areas stretch along the coast from west to east. The name Algarve derives from the Arabic Al-Gharb Andalus, by which it was known to the Moorish invaders of the Middle Ages. Al-Gharb means 'of the west', while Andalus was the Arabic name for Moorish Iberia, and survives today in modern-day Andalucia.

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Most Popular Algarve Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Casa Santos Lima Al-Ria, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Touriga 8,262nd 88 $11
Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Reserva Syrah - Aragonez, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo 17,914th 88 $17
Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho 'Vida Nova' Tinto Syrah - Aragonez, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo 24,033rd 87 $8
Quinta do Convento do Paraiso, Algarve, Portugal Rare Red Blend 50,372nd 87 $20
Casa Santos Lima 'Rabo de Galo' Reserva, Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 51,310th $17
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Selecta, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Rare Red Blend 65,013th 86 $8
Quinta da Penina Foral de Portimao Colheita Seleccionada Tinto, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A 66,474th $7
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Grace Vineyard, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 71,382nd 88 $13
Morgado do Quintao Clarete, Algarve, Portugal Tinta Negra Mole 73,101st $21
Paxa Reserva, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Rare Red Blend 75,025th $12
Quinta da Tor Tinto, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 77,092nd $7
Bagamel 'Castelo de Silves' Aguardente de Medronho, Algarve, Portugal Eau-de-Vie 77,092nd $33
Paxa Tinto, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 79,122nd 86 $11
Foral de Albufeira Colheita Seleccionada Tinto, Algarve, Portugal Cabernet - Syrah - Tempranillo 79,122nd $8
Jose Manuel Cabrita Reserva Tinto, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 81,320th $17
Quinta do Convento do Paraiso 'Euphoria' Tinto, Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 81,320th $12
Quinta da Penina Foral de Portimao Reserve, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 83,587th 87 $7
Cristinalda Brandymel, Algarve, Portugal Honey 91,600th $17
Quinta do Frances Odelouca River Valley Tinto, Algarve, Portugal Cabernet - Syrah - Tempranillo 97,932nd 88 $25
Casa Santos Lima Reserva Al-Ria, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Touriga 97,932nd 88 $20
Paxa Negra Mole, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Tinta Negra Mole 97,932nd $19
Adega do Cantor 'Onda Nova' Alicante Bouschet, Algarve, Portugal Alicante Bouschet 105,255th 88 $17
Paxa Viognier, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Viognier 105,255th $12
Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Branco, Algarve, Portugal Verdelho 109,281st 87 $8
Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Rose, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo 113,626th 86 $12
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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