Sauvignon Blancs from the Algarve

Following on from my column last week encouraging readers to support local producers and buy Algarve wine during these difficult times, I decided to dedicate my column for the coming weeks to this subject and help readers get some idea of what is available.

Let’s start with Sauvignon Blanc, anything but a traditional grape in Portugal, but a variety that is hugely popular with today’s consumers and has been planted and produced extensively all over the country, and the Algarve is no exception. I found these three wines at Apolónia and decided to open them all together for a tasting and comparison over the weekend.

The first in the line-up is from Paxá Wines near Silves and, at €7.95, is the least expensive of the three. Second is “So Blanc” from Barranco Longo near Algoz, priced at €9.95, and finally we have the more pricey Quinta do Francês at €12.95.

Paxá’s Sauvignon is the most easy drinking of the three and probably the wine that would have the broadest appeal. Whilst it is quite exuberant on the nose with tropical fruit and green grass notes coming to the front, it is dry, crisp and fairly light in the mouth.

Barranco Longo’s So Blanc is a respectable rendition of the variety that reminded me of a mid-range New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Here, the nose is even more exuberant with the trademark aromas of the grape, such as gooseberries, along with tropical fruits leading on to a creamy texture in the mouth and a lush fruitiness. 

Either of these two aforementioned Sauvignon Blancs will appeal to those who appreciate the New World style, but the third and more expensive wine is an altogether different story.

Here, French producer Patrick Agostini at his ‘quinta’ on the road from Silves to Monchique has set out to create a white wine in the style of a high quality Pouilly-Fumé, with careful oak work lending a well-balanced hint of toastiness to the Sauvignon Blanc gown on his low yielding schist soil estate – well worth a few euros more than the other two, especially as a wine to pair with food.