roquevale
redondo
, 011-351-266-999-388
the roquevale redondo 1999 alentejo is feted as a great red under $20.

ribatejo and estremadura
casa santos lima

near alenquer, 011-351-263-760-621
its potent reds include some to drink now, others to age. try the 2000 estremadura touriz ($18).

quinta de lagoalva de cima
alpiarca
, 011-351-243-559-070
produces two main labels for export: lagoalva de cima (the 1999 vintage sells for $10), a blended red; and quinta de lagoalva tinto, a reserve-quality, oak-aged red made from the native castelão and touriga nacional grapes.

quinta de pancas
alenquer
, 011-351-213-616-470
its rich, full-bodied reds packed with fruit include the 1999 cabernet sauvignon estremadura ($8) and 2000 tinta roriz estremadura ($6). -

going native


to appreciate portuguese wines, learn about its native grapes. experts say these varieties offer unique flavors to the well-traveled palate. here are four to begin with:

alfrocheiro this grape's flowery aroma is laced with strong notes of eucalyptus and it boasts good structure, good acidity, and solid potential for aging. an example: the 1999 quinta dos roques alfrocheiro preto ($22).

castelão this grape produces wine that's clean, soft, and medium-bodied, with many red fruit aromas. try a 1997 jose maria de fonseca periquita ($9) with grilled food.