Summer is vacation season, and I’m locked in a cube. So I seize every opportunity to travel vicariously—using nothing but a corkscrew, a glass, and my imagination—by exploring new and interesting wines from places I’d love to visit. If grapes grow there, I’ll go there—at least in spirit.
Discovering a new wine made from an unfamiliar grape makes these explorations even more rewarding. So I “traveled” to Portugal’s Ribatejo region courtesy of Quinta do Alqueve winery and its 2006 Fernao Pires, a crisp, refreshing white with a delightful nose of lime zest and the alluring texture of a Roussane from southern France. It sells for $10 and works by itself or with crab cakes. Looking for a summer red? Try the 2005 Tradicional, from traditional Portuguese grapes and in the same price range. It features bright raspberry fruit and surprising length.
Quinta do Alqueve wines are imported by Robert Kacher Selections. Kacher is a Washington-based importer, and his wines are available at many good wine shops in the area such as Pearsons's (2436 Wisconsin Ave., 202-333-6666) and MacArthur Liquors (4877 MacArthur Blvd., 202-338-1433).