For those curious to taste why Portugal is a rising region for high-quality dry red wines, Herdade do Esporão is a winery in Alentejo worth paying attention to. Esporão's wines are fruit-forward and ripe, thanks to the southern region's hot climate, but also the modern approach of its Australian winemaker, David Baverstock, who often uses new American oak and lets the alcohol content top 14 percent.
This delicious bottle of Quatro Castas is no exception. A mid-range offering around $20 from Esporão made each year from four different grapes that represent that vintage's best blend - the 2005 and 2007 vintages currently on store shelves in Pennsylvania both indulge in Aussie-style syrah and the porty depth of touriga nacional. The result is a lush draft of dark fruit, spicy oak with an impressively well-rounded finish. They pair well with hard cheese and charcuterie, gamy meats, and a wide range of Mediterranean foods. It's also widely available in Pennsylvania, in both the standard and premium collection stores.
- Craig LaBan
Esporão Quatro Castas, $19.99 at select Pennsylvania state stores (code: 4733).