March 16, 2005

José Maria da Fonseca 2000 Vinho Regional Terras do Sado Primum

Imported by Commonwealth Wine & Spirits, Mansfield, Mass.; about $12.

Bright ruby in color and just as fresh and jazzy in taste, Primum puts to rest any memories of the dull, sun-cooked dry reds of Portugal's past. Though it's made in Terras do Sado, the flat lands that follow the Sado river in Portugal's southwest, it uses touriga nacional and touriga franca, two highly esteemed grapes more typically found farther north in the Douro.

The result is a red filled with lively sour cherry flavors deepened with just enough rough tannins to tangle brilliantly with a lamb chop or, better yet, some creamy, firm Azeito cheese, if you can find it.

This recommendation first appeared in the Denver Post.

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