Tag Archives: Quinta das Marias

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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Quinta das Marias – 11/07/2012

Encruzado 2010 (tank fermented)
Nice crisp slightly herbaceous nose with some interesting grass elements and some flint. Quite textural and warm, full but focused and long. Fresh vibrant and more in the mouthfeel than the flavours. Sense of place, just a little forward at the moment, will develop nicely.

Encruzado Barrica 2010 (barrel fermented)
Leesy cheesy fruit nose, lime rind and some yellow apple. Warmer broader fuller and rich textural note. Good balance, some nice texture and ripeness, a little creamy sweet element. Oak well integrated but sense it is dulling the fruit somewhat.

Alfrocheiro 2010 (tank ferment, 11 months 3-year old barriques)
Ruby red fruits, cherries pomegranates plums. Fresh light soft mellow, quite crisp and showing the warmth at the moment, nice clean finish, a little sweetness from the fruit and old oak oxidation. Very good wine, good drinking with some nice character, a little young for the time being.

Lote 2010 (blended red wine)
A little darker but still good clarity. Denser fuller bolder fruit and tannins, more bang for buck, won’t last long in the bottle. Good acids, oak barely playing a part. Dark fruits doing a good job, nice concentration.

Cuvee TT Reserva 2010 (touriga nacional, tinta roriz)
Soft mellow subtle dark fruit nose, some earthy minerality. Wonderfully complex, but also very full and bold in fruit. Smooth and opulent but also showing some sweet spices and earthy texture. Showing more of the terroir in this wine. Exuberant and showing some oak sweetness, needs more time in bottle.

Touriga Nacional Reserva 2010
Quite dark and purple in colour. Intense rose and violet dark fruits, dark deep earth, a little funk going on. Full powerful hot and fruit intense, oak-strong and tannin exuberant. A little smashed, too extractive. Not hot or heavy, but a little aggressive in the tannins.

Touriga Nacional 2007
More mature subtle mushroom balsamic notes. Softer cleaner lifted fruit, brighter and fresher, certainly more mellow, frankly an older version of the 2010. Still hot and over-macerated, not going to improve on unbalanced wine. Opening up though, getting better.

Highlight of the tasting at Quinta das Marias

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