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
Clean mineralic salty citric acid nose. Nice texture and balance, oxidised. Looking very flat on the back of the palate, not sure what is happening. Crisp fresh but somehow out of balance considering alcohol of 13.5%.
Classico 2008 (classic four varieties)
Really vibrant forest spice, clovey herby, dark berries. Excellent concentration and balanced fruit, good depth of tannins and nice structure. Strong expression without being heavy, but not mellow, robust. Red wine of the day.
Reserva 2009 (mainly touriga nacional)
Wild flower, clove, forest fruits, slightly menthol. Pure dense softer and more fruit sweet, certainly seeing the difference between vintage. Ripe but focused and not heavy, hot or too fruit-sweet. Elegance and respect in a robust vintage.
Touriga Nacional Reserva 2009
Something quite extraordinary, and I finally see the potential for mono-varietal touriga nacional. Perfect balance again, totally unique terroir character, showing the forest and wild pine, Christmas. Very special wine, would like to see more vintages and more age.
|The guesthouse of Quinta da Fata