Portuguese wines offer some of the best value in the world. The country may be small, but its geography – with coast on one side, mountains in the center, and an arid region to the east – has created a number of diverse wine-growing regions. While most people know Port and many have come to love Vinho Verde, other Portuguese wines and the regions that produce them are just starting to burgeon. The country itself is low-key and scenic – and currently, a bargain, even factoring in euro-to-dollar exchange rates.
One of Portugal's two best-known wine regions (the other being Douro, where Port comes from), the Alentejo sits in the southeast part of the country, away from the Atlantic's influence. Its best-known wines are reds, both spicy, savory traditional styles and more intensely fruity modern wines.
The Winery: Herdade do Esporao
While many wineries in the country are still adapting to the surge in vinotourism, Esporao has it nailed – the state-of-the-art facility that houses its winery has an architecturally stunning visitors center complete with restaurant, wine bar, and shop constructed in a contemporary style. The family-owned winery routinely wins awards for its more traditional wines and its modern riserva styles, both reds and whites. Don't neglect to taste the olive oils, either – there are four varieties ranging from mild to spicy. You'll want extra room in your luggage to bring home bottles of both wine and olive oil, many of which are available at the shop for under $10. Vineyard and winery tours are available for those who want to learn more, and there's even an archeological museum on site.