Summer in the Algarve
The climate here is odd, much like everywhere else it seems. April was a lot hotter than usual while May, so far, has been a lot cooler than usual. But the historical records show the interglacial temperatures have a way to go to get as high as during previous interglacials. That’s something the green doomsayers dont like the rest of us to mention. As far as I can gather from scientific records the previous interglacial period managed to get 5 degrees C higher than we are at the moment, and the planet came through that without any hitches, just as it has during all the other interglacials.
I have always regarded May 1st as the first day of the summer here in the Algarve. That’s when I can realistically cast off most of my clothes, leaving pants, shorts and shirt as being perfectly able to cope without any extras.
It is also when the jacaranda trees come into flower. A whole arcade of them looks wonderful…
Looking up through the leaves and the beautiful blue flowers at a blue sky, and then looking underfoot at a carpet of blue discarded flowers is a wonderful sight.
By the way, back in the early spring I took a few pictures of the aloes when they were growing that great trunk they produce just before dying. This is a picture of the one in my garden…
But a neighbour of mine managed to sport one with a simply enormous trunk which trailed over tables and chairs…
But back to my garden. This gorgeous tree has flowered twice so far this year. What is going on?
And here’s one more summer image, this is also in my garden…
Being summer, this is the time to drink Vinho Verde, or the green wine made in the far north of Portugal along the border with Spain. Here the grapes are grown up trellises and vinified quickly to capture freshness. The wines are mainly white (not green at all), and come into their own during the hot summers. The wines generally have a low alcohol content, which means they can be drunk easily at lunchtime without reducing one to an afternoon stupor, and they have a refreshing tartness which continues to ferment in the bottle. Only a few of these wines are intended to be kept. The alcohol content does vary, but I try to buy wines with only a 9% or 10% alcohol level, although I do buy one which is rated at 12% which is a bit high for this type of wine, and it is much more expensive than the usual bottles.
You can buy an average vinho verde at your local supermarket for a couple of euros, but I am paying close to 9 euros for Compromisso, but it is a more carefully crafted wine than the usual run of the mill versions.
The normal grape variety is alvarinho. But there are other grape varieties in the region as well. In fact you might like what is written on the back label of my bottle of Compomisso:
“The Alvarinho grapes give body and length to a wine of great harmony and complexity. The loureiro variety confers it a floral and aromatic herbal expression. The tradajura grape variety complements with notes of tree fruit, especially apple and pear.”
It’s definitely a nice wine, but generally one drinks wine from this region precisely because it is refreshing and slightly tart. It takes the place of beer.
Beer in this country has improved, mainly due to the German influence. The local stuff is lager, and the only way I can describe it is that it’s awful. However, there are a couple of local companies producing the equivalent of real ale, but I dont see these modern expressions ousting the traditional vinho verde as refreshers.