After a weekend of dog-sitting in New Jersey for my brother, I grabbed some food from a local Portuguese-owned place called Lisboa he had recommended—simple but irresistibly tasty and cheap barbecue chicken, rice and beans. To go with our heaping platter of food, my husband and I opened a Douro Valley red; I love these wines for their distinctive character and value.
In particular, I fell in love with Quinta do Vale Meão's wines after trying the estate's 2005 bottling (94 points, $62) chosen by Kim Marcus for the editors' blind tasting seminar at the 2007 Wine Experience. Meandro is the estate's less expensive second wine. Both are blended from varieties traditionally used for Port; in the case of the 2006 Meandro: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Amarela.
Packed with bright raspberry, cherry and red plum fruit over medium tannins, the Meandro ends with a kick of pepper and spices. It's a fun wine now and great with casual, flavorful fare, but should also reward short-term cellaring. 90 points, non-blind. I recall picking it up at a Manhattan retailer in late 2008 for about $22.QUINTA DO VALE MEÃO Douro Meandro 2006 (92, $28)