Tag Archives: Barao de Nelas

Terroir hunter (Dao, Portugal – Day One)

The Dao and Bairrada geographical regions are part of the same political region in Portugal known as Beiras. I don’t recommend mentioning that with them, as the two regions couldn’t be more different from each other in a great many ways. Firstly the Dao region is more continental in climate than the Bairrada which is closer to the Atlantic Coast, and thus has more temperature variations between day and night time. Secondly the Dao region is higher in altitude sitting at over 250 m above sea level, whereas the Bairrada isn’t much more than 100m. Thirdly the region works with very different grape varieties; the Dao is much more known for red wines whereas Bairrada produces sparkling wine in high volumes, with red and white wines occupying a smaller piece of the pie. The wine styles are quite different, with the maritime wines of Bairrada being more linear, fresh and crisp and the wines of Dao being fuller and more robust. The final difference is in the landscape itself, as the Dao is much more wild and rugged, reminding me of the Grampians in Victoria where I come from. The Dao is a valley formed over time like a big bowl, and in this protected climate the touriga nacional grape is the undisputed king.
The Intrepid Wino in a medieval lagare in the Dao, Portugal

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Barao de Nelas – 11/07/2012

Alfrocheira 2007
Noticeable oak influence, warm vintage reaction showing sweet ripe banana skin, jammy fruits on the nose, dark cherries and plums. Juicy full warm fruits, softens on the back nicely, ripe and somewhat extractive. Full flavour, classic Portuguese red(?)

Reserva Touriga Nacional/Tinta Roriz 2007
More meaty and stalky on the nose, closed fruit. Wonderful palate, excellent focus and drive, exquisite balance, great character and a sense of terroir. Complex and long, drinkable yet contemplative.

Touriga Nacional 2007
Most certainly dark brooding and masculine, very earthy and flinty, showing some granitic and gunpowder notes. Gentle generous fruity full rich. Denser tannins but lighter profile, focus and drive and integration of oak. Serious wine, bold yet subtle.

Reserva 2008
Brighter ruby colour. Rosey floral notes, a little flat on the palate, needs some more time to open up in the bottle. Nice concentration, wonderful acids, purity focus and longevity.

The best wine of the tasting from Barao de Nelas

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