Portuguese red wines are so little known that that they might as well be made on Mars. When’s the last time you saw a Portuguese wine on a retail shelf?
This is a shame, because Portuguese wines almost always offer value, and often tremendous value. Forget that you’ve never heard of the wine regions and that you can’t begin to pronounce the names of the grapes (most of which are also used to make port). Focus on the wines, which are food-friendly, very accessible, low in alcohol, and fruity and tannic without being overwhelming.
That’s an especially accurate description of the Vale de Bomfim (about $12, available at Cork), which is the third or fourth cheap, quality Portuguese red that I’ve tried this year. (Among the others: the Altano 2006). It’s a quintessential summer red wine, the kind that will pair with burgers and barbecue and long Sunday afternoons with not much to do.