The uniqueness of the Dão wine region lies in its specific terroir, but also its commitment to local indigenous varietals. In this edition of ‘Taste Tips’ we explore the characteristics of the grapes that make up the tapestry of Dão vineyards.
The fame of Dão wines is due, in large part, to this grape variety, which, in the past, before the phylloxera crisis, was dominant in the region's vineyards. It is the noblest among the red grape varieties. It has a small and elongated bunch of grapes that bear tiny, rounded and not uniformed grape berries with black-blue epidermis coated with strong bloom. The pulp is stiff, not coloured, juicy and has a distintive flavor. It is a medium maturing variety; production may be medium to high when using selected materials and appropriate conditions, otherwise it is low. The wines have an intense red colour, with purplish blue shades, when they are young. The aromas are intense and highly complex with traits of ripe dark fruits and berries (blackberries, rosemary, lavender, pine needles, rock rose). In the mouth they are full-bodied, persistent, robust, with high tannins and very fruity. Great potential for prolonged ageing, acquiring then an elegance and a distinct velvety aroma.
Main Aromas: Wild Fruits, Violet, Orange Blossom, Herbs, Licorice, Rockrose, Eucalyptus, Balsamic, Bergamot
Pairings: Red Meat, BBQ, Hard Cheese
Produced almost exclusively in Dão, it is a mysterious grape variety, because is only referenced after the phylloxera crisis (end of the 18th century. XIX). Its origin it is not known with certainty, even though it is speculated that it may be a foreign grape variety. It is characterized by a small, compact bunch of grapes, which sometimes has small and uniform grape berries and an heterogeneous epidermis colour, black-blue tone. The pulp, not coloured, is soft and juicy, with a particular taste. This variety presents a regular production and average maturity, contributing to the excellent balance between sugar and acids, tannins and good wine color, while fruity and fine aromas, which resemble ripe strawberries, make wines complex over the years.
Main Aromas: Strawberries, Wild Fruits
Pairings: Rich fish dishes, roast lamb, lamb chops
ARAGONEZ – TINTA RORIZ
It is a very productive and with a good maturity grape variety. The bunch is big and open and contains heterogeneous size berries, with somewhat flattened and epidermis black color, thick medium-blue with strong bloom. The pulp, in its turn, is not coloured, is juicy, soft and has a very own flavor. In wines, whenever this grape variety exists in good percentage, intensifies the aromas of ripe fruit, gives a lot of colour and good alcoholic graduation. It is notorious the excellent balance marked by the quality of its tannins, as well as the balance of its body and acidity, resulting in harmonious and very elegant wines, with high potential for aging.
Main Aromas: Mulberry, Red Currant, Floral, Spice, Chocolate
Pairings: Grilled fatty fish, cod, stewed meat
In the region of Dão Jaen is produced, at least, since the middle of last century, being quoted, in 1865, in wine surveys, as one of the most dominant grape varieties in the municipality of Mangualde. It is lawful to think that has been brought by pilgrims returning home through the paths of Santiago. After the plague of phylloxera was spread throughout the region of the Dão, this grape variety continued to have a good productivity and prematurity, which allowed the production of wine with good graduation and good colour. The bunch of grapes is large and compact, with average and uniform grape berries,the epidermis is not thick, with blue-black colour and average bloom. The flesh is soft and juicy and not coloured. The wines are elegant, with regular alcoholic content, intense colour and very soft, due to its low acidity. But it is its intense and delicate scent, reminding a little raspberry, which makes this grape variety the most precious.
Main Aromas: Blueberry, Chestnut, Mulberry, Black Cherry
Pairings: Roast Lamb, Duck, Mushroom Dishes, Mexican, Cod