Here are four reds and a white to remind us that Portugal and Spain are producing some of the greatest wine values in the world today.
Cartuxa Évora Tinto Colheita 2012
Two and a half stars.
This silky, delicious blend of Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro and Trincadeira is soft and luscious, with black fruit and some of the early, leafy character of Aragonez, a Portuguese name for the tempranillo grape. The oak is quite noticeable, but the fruit emerges with some time, so I recommend decanting an hour before dinner. This is a new distributor selling only in Maryland but with plans to enter the District and the Virginia markets. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Volte Face Vinho Branco 2015
Alentejano, Portugal, $18
What’s behind the enigmatic mask on the bottle? It’s Antaõ Vaz, an indigenous grape variety that just might change your opinion of Portuguese white wines for the better. Flavors of white flowers and talc are backed up by rich textures of lanolin and beeswax. Delicious. There is also an excellent red at the same price. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Protos Tinto Fino 2014
Ribera del Duero, Spain, $15
Spicy and rich with red-fruit flavors and a hint of earth, this delightful tempranillo will match steaks, ribs and other hearty meat dishes. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Casa Santos Lima Tinto Reserva 2012
Lisboa, Portugal, $19
This is quite good, rich with red-fruit and mocha flavors. The new oak is quite noticeable, but there is a lot of delicious fruit underneath it. ABV:13.5 percent.
Pérola Tinto 2014
One and a half stars.
Duriense, Portugal, $8
Looking for a nice red wine for burgers on the grill, takeout kebabs or Peruvian chicken? Here’s your casual, inexpensive weeknight house red. ABV: 13 percent.
– – -Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.