I’ve milked the ‘research’ bit about as much as I can on the Portuguese red table wines and finished off the last red. It turns out the best was last.

A couple nights ago I opened a bottle of Quinta Do Alqueve 2006 Tradicional. Indeed, this red wine features Portugal’s three primary red grapes – Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Trincadeira and Castelao.

Again, Touriga Nacional is the primary grape in Port, but also used for red table wines. This $10.99 wine I bought at Kahns on Keystone in Indianapolis was the nicest of the 4-5 I tried in recent weeks.

This was a medium bodied wine that was satisfying without the too-ripe or overly earthy characteristics of some of the others I tried and wrote about on this blog.

I’ve had a hard time putting a finger on these reds. I found a few reviews, including wine columnist Edward Deitch, who said it reminded them at times of a Cab, other times as a Merlot and yet sometimes Pinot Noir.

The wine comes from the Ribatejo region, in central Portugal and just north of Lisbon, where a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are grown along with the traditional Portuguese grapes.

This exercise solidifies for me the importance of trying new things and new grapes. Portugal’s reds are definitely a little different, but give them a try!

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