Portuguese wines are all the rage. Quality has improved markedly over the past couple of years, as has availability. Sales are growing, and not just for the the most common wines, like vinho verde. Higher quality and even more expensive red and white table wines, the mainstay of any wine business, are becoming more common and more popular.
In fact, I have had a half dozen or so top notch Portuguese wines over the past year, and that so many of them have been so good and have cost around $10 is worth an eventual Portuguese wine post. Until then, consider the Prazo ($17, sample), a red blend made with tinta roriz, the Portuguese version of tempranillo, touriga nacional, the classic port grape, and three others. As such, it could have been heavy and cloying, which was not unusual for this style of wine in the past.
But it's fresh and clean -- an almost New World-style tempranillo, with lots of red fruit, acid to balance, and soft tannins on the finish. A conscious effort has been made to steer the Prazo away from the typical raisiny, gooey style, and it shows. My only concern was value: It is it worth $17? Probably, given how many annoying, over-ripe California wines cost that much. Serve this with spring and summer barbecues, and think about it as a gift for the red wine drinker who wants to try something different.