Medronho do Algarve IGP

Description: The Medronho do Algarve PGI is a spirit fruit drink produced exclusively by alcoholic fermentation and distillation of fleshy fruits of Arbutus unedo L. (strawberry tree) or of its must (with or without stone), coming from a natural habitat of their geographical area of production.

Production method: In the geographical area of production of Medronho do Algarve PGI, the fruits come to ripeness and are traditionally harvested by hand, from September onwards. Traditionally, the distillation of Medronho do Algarve PGI is made from the end of January or February. The distillation process, using copper alembic stills, is made "without haste", in a patient, rigorous and watchful manner. The Medronho do Algarve PGI, when aged, is placed in oak or chestnut casks subjected to slight roasting.
The entire production cycle from the moment the raw material is obtained to distillation and aging process takes place in the defined geographical area.

Distinctive features: Genuine Medronho do Algarve PGI features methanol values, total acid and ethyl acetate lower than the common arbutus-berry brandy, which provides a distinct quality. It also presents residual amounts of C6-alcohols, aldehydes and octanoic and decanoic acids, which differentiates Medronho do Algarve PGI from other liquors.
These characteristics determine a fruitier aroma and taste, specific to Medronho do Algarve PGI, compared with the more herbaceous aromas and tastes present in the other arbutus-berry brandy.

Production area: The geographical production area is limited to the municipalities of Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Monchique, Silves (parishes of S. Marcos da Serra, São Bartolomeu de Messines and Silves), Lagos (parishes of Barão de S. João, Bensafrim and Odiaxere), Portimão (parishes of Mexilhoeira and Portimão) Albufeira (Paderne parish), Loulé (except the parishes of Almancil and Quarteira), Faro (parishes of Estoi and Santa Bárbara), S. Brás de Alportel, Tavira (parishes of Cachopo, Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo, S . Maria and Conceição), Castro Marim (parishes of Odeleite and Azinhal) and Alcoutim (parishes of Vaqueiros and Martinlongo) and also to the municipality of Odemira (parishes of S. Teotónio, Sabóia and S. Clara- a-Velha), the municipality of Ourique (Santana da Serra parish) and Almodovar municipality (parishes of Gomes Aires, S. Clara-a-Nova, S. Barnabé and S. Cruz do Almodôvar).

History: Medronho do Algarve PGI is a traditional spirit drink of Algarve. The distillation of fermented fruit in copper alembic stills arrived in the Mediterranean basin from Egypt, in the second and third centuries. This technology was acquired by the Greeks, and later spread by Arabs in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, around the IX and X centuries. The artisanal alembic still is still used today in the Algarve keeping the ancient features of the technology brought by the Arabs.

Product specification (pdf)

Geographical area

Producer group
APAGARBE - Associação de Produtores de Aguardente de Medronho do Barlavento

Control and certification body

Publication in the Portuguese official journal
Aviso n.º 891/2015, de 27 de janeiro
Decreto-Lei n.º 238/2000, de 26 de setembro