Wine tasting in the Algarve
When people think of European wine tasting holidays, the first destination that springs to mind is probably France – the land of wine and cheese. However, those looking for a vino sampling holiday with a difference might like to consider a summer holiday in Portugal – voted the seventh largest exporter of wine in 2007 – and more specifically to the Algarve, as the region boasts great tradition and heritage in this field.
Why the Algarve?
To start with, the climate has all of the qualities to grow grapes to make beautiful wines. The warm Mediterranean climate and hours of glorious sunshine mean the vines are capable of producing beautifully sweet fruit, which makes for a less acidic flavour of the final product – and sometimes a higher alcohol content.
Wine making in the stunning Portuguese region of the Algarve dates back hundreds of years, right back to the Romans and Ancient Greeks who were certainly known for enjoying a tipple or two of the stuff. Furthermore, the topography of the area right in the south of the country means that mountains shelter it from winds from the north, which make it even more perfect for vineyards.
Nowadays, the region is known for both beautiful red and fresh white varieties – although probably more so for the former.
There are in fact several wine growing regions in Portugal – of which the Algarve is certainly a good place to start. You may find you want to explore more regions after sampling all that the Algarve has to offer.
Where should you go?
The south of Portugal is a beautiful and relaxed holiday destination, meaning you will want to take your time meandering around if you are doing a wine tour. So don’t worry about trying to cram too much in and rushing from place to place. In order to sample Algarve vineyards at their finest, do so at a leisurely place to really drink all that they offer – quite literally!
Quinta dos Vales is a ten-minute drive from Portimao, comprising a fairly vast estate. Some of the wines have won international awards and so you can be sure to sample some of the finest the region has to offer here. Herdade dos Pimenteis is five kilometres from the city centre in Portimao, with white grapes producing beautifully fruity aromas.
In Lagos, Quinta dos Lopes is a family-run vineyard often selling wines to Germany and Holland. However, it also sells fruit and vegetable produce so you may want to pick up some other bits and pieces while you’re there!
If you would like a guided tour, you may like to go to Adega do Cantor for this as you are sure to learn a great deal about the process right from growing the grape through to how the wine itself comes about.
For those going this summer between now and September, the Quinta do Frances in Lagoa is open every single day of the week for visits. The shop here sells all sorts of other fantastic produce of the Algarve so it may be just the place to go to pick up souvenirs and treats to remind you of your trip.
You may opt to sign up for a winery tour of the region in order to remove the hassle of organising and researching it yourself. Doing so will also ensure you get a comprehensive overview of all that the wineries in this fantastic region have to offer.