I was recently challenged by our sister publication, Essential Algarve, to collect my 10 favourite Algarve wines for inclusion in the 100th edition of the magazine which included 10 categories, one of which was of course wine. So here goes:
Negra Mole Red
Not easy to find but worth looking out for, this light-bodied red made from the local Negra Mole variety will bring a smile to the face of any Pinot Noir lover. The winemaker, located in Alcantarilha, has nurtured this humble variety to give us a smooth and delightfully light wine in the Burgundy style, with typical leathery notes along with fresh berry fruits on the nose and a velvety smooth finish.
Quinta dos Vales
The premium red wine from this multi-award-winning producer, Dialog 2011 (the vintage currently on the market) is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Petit Verdot. This is a wine of great structure with spicy and chocolate notes marrying with dark berry fruits on the nose. Full bodied with well-rounded tannins in the mouth, good acidity and long dry finish.
Quinta do Francês Red
When we first featured the French-owned Algarve winery in Essential back in 2009, the headline of the article was “The waiting game”, giving recognition to this producer for allowing his wines to mature in the bottle before releasing. The winery produces various excellent wines and this main label blend made from of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Aragonês grapes is a full-bodied and elegant wine with ripe dark and red fruit flavours.
Monte do Além
Petit Verdot Red
Monte do Além is a small Belgian-owned winery located near Odiáxere in the west Algarve, where a great deal of care goes into making wines as naturally as possible. This Petit Verdot varietal stands out as one of the best examples. On the nose, there are rich dark berry notes with very well-integrated oak, firm and full-bodied in the mouth, with present but nicely rounded tannins, and a very fresh finish.
Onda Nova Syrah Red
The Syrah grape is the foreign red variety to have had most success here in the Algarve and one of the first producers to make a varietal from the grape was Sir Cliff Richard’s Adega do Cantor (the winery of the singer). Many producers in the Algarve produce good quality Syrah but we singled this one as it represents very good value for money and is easy to find in the shops.
Grace Vineyard White
The white wines of Quinta dos Vales are quite different from those of any other producer in the Algarve, or in the Alentejo for that matter. This producer has always had a strong focus on its whites, creating wines with a characteristic freshness and delicate structure. Top of the pile is this Grace Vineyard, the dominant grapes of which are Viognier and Arinto.
A difficult rosé to beat in the sub 10-euro price range, there are fresh and delicate red fruit notes on the nose and a slight creaminess in the mouth with good acidity with a dry yet fruity finish. A wine that looks and tastes like a Provence pink, but is actually 100% Portuguese, made from the indigenous Touriga Nacional variety right here in the Algarve.
Viognier (varietals) Whites
To single out any one producer of Viognier as a varietal would be very difficult. Much like Syrah, the Viognier grape has adapted extremely well to the Algarve and many of the region’s producers make excellent examples, amongst them Quinta dos Vales, Quinta do Francês and Adega do Cantor.
Cabrita Moscatel White
The Muscat (Moscatel) grape is mostly used in Portugal to produce fortified wines but there are a few exceptions, one of them being Cabrita here in the Algarve. On the nose there are floral and green fruit notes with great freshness in the mouth and just a touch of sweetness on the finish, pairs well with spicy Asian food.
Paxá Special Red
This premium label from Paxá near Silves is a big, bold and powerful red made from Syrah, Aragonês and Alicante Bouschet. Intense and jammy forest fruits on the nose with well-integrated oak. Rich and smooth in the mouth with a long finish, this wine is an excellent companion to hearty winter dishes like a nice lamb stew.
By PATRICK STUART firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the full Essential Algarve top 100 visit www.essential100.info