Portuguese wine is having a moment—and while there’s no question that the Douro, in the country’s north, is the region grabbing the headlines, modern methods of winemaking and a new wave of enologists have considerably upped the quality of wine all over Portugal. Two vineyards which are interesting in the Algarve, and which will give you a good sense of the local offerings, are Quinta do Francês and Quinta do Convento do Paraíso—both within 45 minutes by car from the hotel. Both of them are open for tastings (by appointment), so we suggest creating a mini wine-tasting itinerary that covers a half-day. The Quinta do Francês Syrah Terraços Red 2012 is one of our favorites (in fact, it’s on the menu at Gusto). It’s excellent to drink now, but is also worth taking home to age for 6 to 10 years. The Quinta do Francês White 2014, made with Viognier, is also terrific. At Quinta do Convento do Paraíso (the winery stands in the grounds of a 12th-century monastery, which history relates was built as a celebration of the victory of the Christians over the Moors in Silves), you should try the Euphoria 2013 and the Convento do Paraíso 2013, both well-rounded reds. This new winery is very much one to watch.
If you want to try Quinta do Francês Winery, head to Silves and you’ll see it just off N124. Or, if you prefer Quinta do Convento do Paraíso, follow the same directions to Silves on the A22, turning off at Lagoa. Follow signs to Silves and turn left just before the main bridge into town; you’ll wind along a narrow road beside the river which leads to the big green gates of Quinta do Mata Mouros, where the winery is located. If you continue up the path it will take you to the vineyards—from where there is a beautiful view onto the historic skyline of Silves.
QUINTA DO FRANCES: Sítio da Dobra Odelouca, Silves; +351-282-106-303; quintadofrances.com
QUINTA DO CONVENTO DO PARAÍSO: 15 Quinta do Lagar, Apartado, Silves; +351-289-510-460. For wine-tasting appointments, call winemaker Renato Neves directly at +351-96-443-0506.