Dão DOC

 

Surrounded on all sides by mountains, the Dão region is protected both from the direct influence of the continental climate and from the chill and rains from the ocean.

The really special thing about the wines of the Dão, whether red or white, is the delicious balance of all their constituent parts - acidity, alcohol, concentration of flavour – it all adds up to elegance.

The region might have been created with winemaking in mind – you couldn’t wish for better conditions.

 

Surrounded by the mountain chains of Caramulo, Buçaco, Nave and Estrela, the Dão region is totally protected from cold winds, summer rain clouds from the Atlantic, and even continental storms. Within its mountain walls, Dão is full of contrasts: warmer in the west, cooler in the north and east, gently rolling hills, deep valleys, forests and mountain slopes; damp, cold winters; and summers that are generally sunny, warm and dry. Yet in late summer, the days become rapidly cooler, allowing for long, slow ripening and the development of complex flavours.

 

The vineyards lie high in the hills, at 400 to 500m, even sometimes as high as 800m, on decomposed schist or granite. Vineyards need to be carefully sited for best exposure to the sun to ensure perfect ripeness. This gives Dão wines an innate balance of lovely, bright, mineral acidity, wonderful fragrance, character and intensity.

Once upon a time, many Dão wines lost much of their elegant, fruity character by excessive ageing in old barrels. With shorter ageing in today’s newer oak barrels, or even unoaked wines, the natural quality can shine through. Top red estate wines tend to be composed at least half of the star variety Touriga Nacional, and maybe blended with Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz or possibly a few other local varieties.

 

Not all Dão is red. The whites are improving (especially from the Encruzado grape), but only in the high vineyards around Tondela do whites outnumber reds. There are also excellent Dão rosés and sparkling wines.

Most vineyards have been in the same family for generations. More than 30,000 grape-growers, some with very tiny plots, produce about half the DOC grapes. Co-operatives are very important here, nowadays they employ modern technology. But the revival in quality was led by individual producers, both large and small.

 

(Wines of Portugal)

 

Link to Paul White's article "Portugal Indigenous Varieties", published November 2009, Decanter

 

http://www.decanter.com/features/portugals-indigenous-varieties-246586/

 

Series with 84 photographs and text.

 

 

 

Rodeada por montanhas em todas as direções, assente em solos graníticos muito pobres, a região do Dão estende as suas vinhas dispersas entre pinhais a diferentes altitudes, desde os 1.000 metros da Serra da Estrela até aos 200 metros das zonas mais baixas.

 

As vinhas são esparsas e descontínuas, divididas em múltiplas parcelas, com propriedades com áreas médias quase insignificantes. As montanhas determinam e condicionam o clima da região, abrigando as vinhas da influência direta do clima continental e da influência marítima. Os solos pobres são maioritariamente graníticos.

 

Nas castas brancas salientam-se, para além do Encruzado, as variedades Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina, Rabo de Ovelha e Verdelho. Nas castas tintas, para além da Touriga Nacional, salientam-se o Alfrocheiro, Jaen e Tinta Roriz, para além das pouco valorizadas Baga, Bastardo e Tinta Pinheira.

Lafões é uma pequena região de transição, encravada entre as denominações do Dão e Vinho Verde, cortada pelo rio Vouga, com solos maioritariamente graníticos.

Nas castas brancas prosperam o Arinto, Cerceal, Dona Branca, Esgana Cão e Rabo de Ovelha, sendo os tintos dominados pelas castas Amaral e Jaen. Por regra, os vinhos de Lafões mostram um pendor acídulo, apresentando um estilo semelhante ao da denominação vizinha do Vinho Verde.

 

(Wines of Portugal)

 

Link pra o artigo de Paul White "Portugal Indigenous Varieties", publicado em Novembro de 2009, Decanter

 

http://www.decanter.com/features/portugals-indigenous-varieties-246586/

 

Série com 84 fotografias e texto.

 

 

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