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Wine52 Discovers Dão

Wine52 have been on quite the quest to explore Portuguese regions recently, with Tejo and Alentejo cases now behind us. With Portuguese Wine potentially set to trend in the 2024 market too, you can see that Wine52 are ahead of the game.

So, what is Dão wine?

Located inland a little way off from Porto, Dão is surrounded by mountains which cuts off both the cold, wet ocean influence and the warmer conditions from the East. One of the most interesting things about Dão wines is that the dominating eucalyptus forests are thought to impart a little menthol flavour into the wines of the region.

The key grapes of the region are Touriga Nacional (as in port), Tinta Roriz (also in port and known to most as Tempranillo), Alfrocheiro and Jaen which are pleasingly in the reds in this case to really showcase the region. Touriga Nacional is the heftiest grape of the bunch with strong black fruit notes and herbal flavours. Tinta Roriz/Tempranillo most of us know and love as a great Rioja variety capable of making full bodied wines. Alfrocheiro is more middling in the grape weight class and usually made into fruity wines. Much the same story for Jaen with lighter fruits it’s A game.

On the whites the main variety is Encruzado which has a lot of stone fruit and citrus to it. You’ll also find varieties such as Bical, Fernao Pires and Malvasia Fina in the whites here.

The Wines

I kicked my tasting off with Ritas Adega de Silgueiros, a blend of Encruzado, Bical and Malvasia Fina.

The nose was vibrant and fresh yet managed to still speak of a well textured wine. To me, that screamed good balance. Honey and floral notes were complemented by grapefruit, lime, lemon and green apple. It even had quite a grapey nature which oddly enough is unusual for wine. Quite a nice, rich start!

To taste, there was definitely more body than the nose made you suspect, which in my mind is a good thing being a fan of wines with some oomph. This was made all the better given that despite the weight on the palate, the wine was still very fresh and lively. As I said, well balanced. There were similar flavours as on the nose, but they perhaps came across as slightly riper with a hint of mango and tangerine coming into play. A great wine for those who want something with backbone, tropicality and a refreshing taste.

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Next up were the reds. The Dueto Desafinado, a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga nacional and Alfrocheiro, was a great treat.

Immediate aromas were quite intense, boasting sour cherry, red plum, blackcurrant, jam and a subtle hint of dried herbs. It had some good complexity.

The flavours were again on a similar line with sour cherry and dried herbs most prominent for me. It also had a nice bit of spice on the back end. This wine was in fact a little reminiscent of German/Austrian reds and Zweigelt came to mind. I appreciate this isn’t the most common wine for everyone but I strongly recommend ordering the Von Der Land Zweigelt from Majestic wine if these flavours appeal.

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The Final wine, and the one I’m sipping now, was the Americo. This time swapping the Alfrocheiro out for Jaen.

Aromas displayed ripe glacier cherry, raspberry, wild strawberry and a fit-to-burst plum (very juicy) There was a nice floral indication of violet as well.

Initially the palate leans towards fruit domination, tending towards the darker side too such as blackcurrant and blueberry. A hint of cloves meanders through the body of the wine and gives it a nice bite. Tannins are not too high, being rounded and smooth helping the wine sip along merrily. That wisp of violet lingers on in the background too making it nicely complex and with enough flavour to keep you interested for glass after glass.

So, there you have it. A great case showcasing traditional grapes in Dão blends and possibly helping edge Portuguese wine beyond Porta 6 and giving you something exciting and more premium to try. I won’t knock Porta 6, but if you really do like it, then you would definitely benefit from exiting your comfort zone and seeing what else Portugal can do for you.

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Updated 22nd January 2024

David Andrews, DipWSET

David Andrews, DipWSET

David brings great enthusiasm to the wine industry, starting with Majestic Wine in 2019 and now joining us at Winesdirect in 2023. He has completed his WSET Diploma qualification and looking forward to share his expert knowledge and tidbits of the wine world.

As an industry enthusiast and expert, David also writes a regular blog on instagram. Check it out here @oinosattheoikos

Read more articles by: David Andrews

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