Thu. Jan 17th, 2019

Two Wines from the Dão in Portugal

Having returned in late November 2018 from a twenty-winery blitz in Portugal’s Dão winemaking region I went to my local LCBO, one of the better LCBO’s in Toronto, and there were 5 wines from the Douro in Portugal and only two from the Dão.

Dao Wine available in LCBO; Photo Robert K. Stephen
Dao Wine available in LCBO; Photo Robert K. Stephen

One was a Cabriz red. I had tried 5 Cabriz wines in the Dão region and I think it is fair to say they are an entry level wine. The Cabriz label is owned by Portugal’s Global Wines and Spirits which owns more than a few labels in Portugal. Global advises us Cabriz is a leading brand in The Dão. I have seen a few of its wines in Quebec and Ontario over the years so it may be that it is a leading Portuguese brand in Canada. This does not mean it is the best but one of the most available Portuguese labels. Of course, it is a bit confusing there is also a Quinta Cabriz in the Dão.

Our media group in the Dão did not try this Cabriz Colheita Selecionada 2015 red at the Paço dos Cunhas de Santar estate. On the nose sweet black cherry, mocha, red plum and a bit of coffee. Fair to say it goes down smoothly without any noticeable tannins or acids. It has a short finish and is a bit juicy with a palate with some diffuse red cherry and a dusting of blackberry. Far from complex but easy drinking without any offensive characteristics. I think a well-made classic entry level wine. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta- Roriz and Alfrochiero all which are classic Dão red grapes. I would agree with the label which states that the wine would be good with fish, grilled or roasted white or red meats ad also with soft cheeses. I would also make an independent statement this would match extremely well with the traditional Portuguese cod casserole bacalhau of which there over some 250 recipes for.

(Cabriz DOC Dão, Colheita Selecionada 2015, Global Wines Carregal do Sal, Portugal, $13,95, LCBO # 0024793, 750 mL, 13% Set the Bar Rating 87/100).

Here is a bit of fun. A wine from a winery I did not visit in the Dão. It is a Munda 2012 from Fontes da Cunha. It has some age to it and my experience is that most Dão reds need a few years under their belt to show their mettle. I drank perhaps a few too many younger Dão reds and realized that the older ones had more character and charm. Can this Munda 2012 deliver on my premise?

Dao Wine available in LCBO; Photo Robert K. Stephen

Dao Wine available in LCBO; Photo Robert K. Stephen

On the nose this black cherry coloured wine has creamy vanilla notes with loads of black cherry, blackberry and dark chocolate. Rather smooth on the palate with an absence of any real tannins. There is charcoal, elegant black cherry notes, sweetened cranberry juice and some leather. I would have expected a bit of richness and sensuality on the palate considering the age of the wine. One aspect of older Dão red wines I have detected is charcoal on the nose and palate. I can only attribute this to the wines grown in granitic spoils interacting with French oak?

I have to say at the price of $31.95 the wine underdelivers. A general comment here is that many of the 20€ plus Dão red wines tried just don’t have the quality to justify their price. At this price I am more comfortable with Douro reds.

The Munda is drinkable and pleasant but from a quality perspective $31.95 is not justified.

(Munda 2012 Touriga Nacional, DOC Dão, Fontes de Cunha, Nelas, Portugal, $ 31.95. LCBO #00568712, 14%, 750 mL, Set the Bar Rating 88/100).

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