Recession busters: Portuguese edition

Wednesday, May 5, 2010; E05

This month's recommended wines from Dave McIntyre, priced at $13 and under, are all from Portugal. The country continues to offer wines of high quality at prices that can only be called cheap. Vinho verde, the crisp, citrusy white wine from the north, is especially welcome at this time of year.

Aveleda Charamba, 2007
* 1/2
Douro, Portugal, $7
(Great Value)

This is a terrific red wine for the price, with rich fruit flavor seasoned with fun. It's worthy of buying by the case as a summer house red, ideal with burgers or sausages on the grill.

Republic National: Available in the District at Burka's Wine & Liquor, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Magruder's, Pearson's, Rodman's, Sheffield Wine & Liquor, SuperFresh, Target Liquors.

Fuzelo Vinho Verde, 2009
* 1/2
Portugal, $8
(Great Value)

Vinho verde is a refreshing, crisp style of white wine from northern Portugal, ideal for warm-weather sipping and for washing down light snacks or seafood. The Fuzelo combines the tart acidity of this style with an appealing, zesty citrus flavor. This also is a case-worthy selection.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Whole Foods Market P Street. Available in Maryland at in Gaithersburg; on the list at Tavira in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, Daily Planet in Alexandria, Downtown Wine and Gourmet in Harrisonburg, J. Emerson Fine Wines and Cheese in Richmond, Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Whole Foods Market Tysons Corner.

Lagoalva "Espirito" Red, 2007
* 1/2
Tejo, Portugal, $13

This 50-50 blend of touriga nacional and castelao, two Portuguese grape varieties, is a light-bodied yet serious red wine, with dark fruit and smoky, earthy notes. The white, also called Espirito, is also quite good.

Winebow: Available in the District at Chats Liquors, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Pearson's.

100 Marias, 2006
Alentejo, Portugal, $10

From Aragones (one of several Portuguese names for tempranillo) and trincadeira, this spicy red has some portlike flavors, yet it is dry and refreshing.

Dionysus: Available in the District at De Vinos, D'Vines. Available in Maryland at in Gaithersburg, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Potomac Beer & Wine in Rockville, State Line Liquors in Elkton, Ye Olde Spirit Shop in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Fern Street Gourmet in Alexandria, Unwined in Alexandria and Belleview; on the list at Columbus Grill and Carmelo's in Manassas.

Aveleda "Fonte," 2008
Vinho Verde, Portugal, $7
(Great Value)

This white is losing a bit of its acidity, but it still offers delicious melon and exotic fruit flavors and should please throughout the summer.

Republic National: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Georgetown Wine & Spirits, Magruder's, Morris Miller, Paul's of Chevy Chase, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman's, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, Sherry's Fine Wine & Spirits, SuperFresh, World Market; on the list at the Grill From Ipanema, Legal Seafoods, Vinoteca.

Gatao, 2009
Vinho Verde, Portugal, $8
(Great Value)

Citrusy and refreshing, this vinho verde is an ideal hot-weather wine for pre-dinner sipping, by itself or with light appetizers.

Dionysus: Available in the District at Harris Teeter, A. Litteri, Rodman's, Whole Foods Market P Street and Tenleytown. Available in Maryland at Balducci's and Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda, Bin 201 Wine Sellers and Bin 604 in Annapolis, in Gaithersburg, Snider's Super Foods in Silver Spring, Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Tavira in Chevy Chase. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington, various Whole Foods Market stores.


*** Exceptional ** Excellent * Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

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