The history of viticulture in the Algarve goes back centuries, but wine production was traditionally geared towards local consumption as in many other regions of the country in the past. However, in recent decades there has been a significant increase in the quality and diversity of the wines produced in this region.
The Algarve has a variety of indigenous and international grape varieties grown in its vineyards. Some of the indigenous grape varieties include Negra Mole and Periquita, while international varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are also grown here.
The wines produced in the Algarve are generally red and rosé wines, although there is also a growing production of white wines. Red wines are usually full-bodied, fruity and with good structure, while rosés are fresh and light, with red fruit flavours. White wines can range from lighter and citrus styles to fuller-bodied and aromatic ones.
Although the Algarve and Alentejo are neighbouring wine regions in Portugal, there are some distinct differences between the wines produced in each region.
Climate is one of the main differences between the Algarve and the Alentejo. While the Algarve has a warmer, Mediterranean climate with a maritime influence due to its coastal location, the Alentejo has a more continental climate with hotter, drier summers and colder winters. This difference in climate can influence the characteristics of the wines produced in each region. Soil is another factor that also plays an important role in differentiating the wines. The Algarve has predominantly calcareous soils, which tend to provide good drainage and influence the minerality of the wines.
Each region has its own indigenous grape varieties and growing preferences. In the Algarve, indigenous grape varieties include Negra Mole, while in the Alentejo, we have varieties such as Aragonez, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet. In addition, the Alentejo is known for its production of full-bodied red wines, while the Algarve has a greater diversity of red, white and rosé wines.
Although there is some overlap in the styles of wine produced in the two regions, the Alentejo is known for full-bodied red wines with rich, fruity flavours. The Algarve, on the other hand, produces a variety of wine styles, including lighter reds, fresh and aromatic whites, and delicate rosés
These are just some of the differences between the wine of the Algarve and Alentejo, their viticulture and the result of their wine production. Therefore each region has its own unique characteristics and offers distinctive wine experiences.
Although wine production in the Algarve is still relatively small compared to other wine regions in Portugal, the region has shown potential to produce interesting and quality wines. It is a region worth exploring for those wishing to experience the wine diversity of Portugal.
Paulo Lopes is a multi-talent Portuguese citizen who made his Master of Economics in Switzerland and studied law at Lusófona in Lisbon - CEO of Casaiberia in Lisbon and Algarve.