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Algarve Wine

Algarve ('the Algarve' to most English speakers) is the southernmost wine region of Portugal, and the far south-western corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It is more widely known for its beaches and thriving tourist industry than its wines.

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 Andalusia.

Adega do Cantor vineyards, Algarve

Although a small quantity of fresh-styled white wines are made here, the wines of the Algarve are predominantly red. They are produced largely by a by a small number of upscale cooperatives, although the fashion for independent producers is catching on here as elsewhere in Europe. 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.

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.

The grape varieties most commonly used here are: Arinto, Malvasia, Siria, Chardonnay, Viognier and Alvarinho (whites); and Castelao, Negra Mole, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Trincadeira and Aragonez (reds).

Algarve has four DOCs – Lagos, Portimao, Lagoa and Tavira – whose catchment areas stretch along the coast from west to east.

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We found 45 wines produced in this region.
Wine Name
Grape 
Popularity
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Tinto Syrah - Aragonez, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo $13 6017
Brandymel, Algarve, Portugal N/A $18 21579
Quinta do Barranco Longo Rose, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $10 45018
Joao Clara Tinto, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend $13 46633
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Grace Vineyard, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $18 50969
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Selecta, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $8 56018
Quinta do Frances Odelouca River Valley Tinto, Algarve, Portugal N/A $31 77994
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Branco, Algarve, Portugal Verdelho (Godello) $11 79444
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Reserva Syrah - Aragonez, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo $16 84081
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Selecta Rose, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Castelao $6 88402
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Grace Touriga Nacional, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Touriga Nacional $18 92246
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Rose, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Tempranillo $11 98688
Quinta dos Vales 'Marques dos Vales' Grace Viognier, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Viognier $20 107815
DFJ Vinhos Esplanada Negra Mole - Trincadeira, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend $8 109328
Quinta do Barranco Longo Grande Escolha Branco, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $21 113890
Quinta do Barranco Longo Reserva, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $25 115610
Quinta do Barranco Longo Syrah, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal Syrah $25 115610
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Quinta do Moinho Vida Nova Espumante Brut Rose, Algarve, Portugal Syrah $20 122705
Quinta do Frances Encostas de Odelouca Tinto, Algarve, Portugal N/A $11 133256
Quinta do Frances Encostas de Odelouca Rose, Algarve, Portugal Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz $5 135499
Cliff Richard Adega do Cantor Onda Nova Verdelho, Algarve, Portugal Verdelho (Godello) $16 140335
Quinta do Barranco Longo Tinto - Red, Vinho Regional Algarve, Portugal N/A $13 140335
Joao Clara Homenagem, Algarve, Portugal Syrah - Touriga $31 142888
Monte do Alem Tinto, Algarve, Portugal Cabernet - Merlot - Tempranillo $13 142888
Monte do Alem Petit Verdot, Algarve, Portugal Petit Verdot $21 145580
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