The Algarve Wine Society visits rural Algarve

Written on 1st April 2014

A group of Algarve Wine Society (AWS) members and guests enjoyed a day out in the rural Algarve countryside on Tuesday March 25th. 60 members and their guests met at Restaurant Ribalta, a traditional Algarvian restaurant just north of Algoz. The group was there to taste Algarvian wines from Quinta do Barranco Longo which is in the nearby village of Barranco Longo.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day and so the party was able to gather in the garden of the restaurant where we were served a light, fresh, well chilled  rosé by our host, Rui Virginia.  Rui Virginia,  owner and creator of the Barranco Longo Winery, told us that this unoaked rosé wine had been bottled only a few days earlier, so recently that, in fact, the bottles had not yet been labelled.

Moving into the unusually and richly decorated interior of the restaurant for lunch, the group commented on the traditional decor of antique farm tools, hanging herbs and displays of home made jams and preserves which were displayed on shelves giving the intimate feeling of dining in someone's home.

Before lunch AWS members and guests enjoyed a formal wine tasting consisting of six Barranco Longo wines introduced and described by Rui. A very aromatic Viogner was followed by a 2010 oaked rosé.  The group tasted three robust reds:  Barranco Longo Reserva Tinto 2010, Barranco Longo Reserva Syrah 2009 and Barranco Longo Reserva Touriga National 2009.

For the finale Rui presented his newest innovation - a wine he has called Remexido, taken from the name of a medieval Algarvian warrior. We tasted the white Remexido which is a blend of three white grape varieties (Arinto, Chardonnay and Viognier). This wine is aged in Hungarian oak barrels which had previously contained Tokay. Tokay is usually a sweet white Hungarian wine.  This imparts a very special aromatic but delicate flavour to Remexido with an unusual and memorable intensity.

During his presentation, Rui told us something about the terroir.  He found the calcarious clay soils around the Algoz region of the Algarve proved ideal for some white grape varieties (Arinto Chardonnay and Viognier).  Rui began making wine about twelve years ago after some Lisbon friends bet him that it was impossible to make a good wine in the Algarve. Rising to the challenge and advised by oenologist Luis Rodrigues, Rui has worked to prove that the Algarve has the potential to produce wine which can hold its own in any market. He aims for quality before profit, believing that establishing a reputation is more important than chasing after medals. He is assisted by Patricia Piassab, the winemaker.

Following the wine tasting lunch was served in traditional Algarvian style. Separate dishes of wild boar, veal and chicken were brought to the table together and served with Xerem, a maize dish brought to the Algarve by the Moors. After the main course the group was spoilt by a selection of delicious regional desserts. The meal was accompanied by Barranco Longo Grande Escolha and Barranco Longo Aragonez Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rui Virginia and Barranco Longo Winery are proud to produce 100% Algarvian wine. The wine bottles have simple, bold modern labels with a distinctive Q and the Algarve Wine Seal. These wines are not generally available in supermarkets although Apolónia in Almancil and Galé does stock them. Wines can be purchased directly from Quinta do Barranco Longo: geral@quintadobarrancolongo.com or Tel: 282 575 253.