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Spotlight on Portugal's Dão region
Part 8: Tasting at the
Solar de Dão

Time was relatively tight on my Dão trip, and I didn’t have time to visit all the producers who deserved it. Fortunately, several kindly banded together and put on a tasting for me at the Solar de Dão in Visieu. Recently renovated to a very high standard it had just been opened again, and the lack of any signage or visible signs of activity made it quite a challenge to locate the right room. An added complication was that this was the night of the European Champions league Final, when Porto were playing Monaco. As a result, all the producers were anxious for me to taste their wines quickly so they could get off to see the game. Some were getting noticeably twitchy towards the end, as I worked my way religiously round the room trying to do all the wines justice. In truth, we were quite keen to get off to the game too – we’d been invited to join the guys at Dão Sul for a big screen experience in their restaurant. But while I wasn't utterly blown away by these wines, I was impressed by the uniformly high standard on show. With just one or two possible exceptions, they all displayed the Dão characteristics to good effect. 

Quinta do Cerrado
This Quinta with 20 ha of vineyards was purchased in the 1980s by the Uniãl Comercial da Beira, a company established back in 1942. These two examples are very impressive wines. uniaocomercial@mail.telepac.pt

Quinta do Cerrado Touriga Nacional 2000
Lovely depth to the nose: spicy, herby with a  pronounced floral elegance. Very vivid. The palate shows a great concentration of structured, rich, spicy herby fruit – mainly black fruits with a lovely richness nicely balanced by the acidity. This is a structured yet regionally typical wine. Very good/excellent 90/100

Quinta do Cerrado Reserva 2001
Vibrant, forward, spicy nose showing rich fruit combined with some spicy oak. Quite complex and forward. The palate is concentrated and spicy with vivid fruit and noticeable oak influence. Quite a modern style but with good structure and typicity. Very good+ 89/100

Adega Coop Vila Nova de Tazem
The wines were presented by Pedro Pereira, the oenologist here. Two well made, modern-styled wines.

Alfrocheiro 2002
Bright fruity nose – mainly raspberry – with a lovely freshness to it. The palate is vividly fruited with high acidity and a lovely juicy character. Sappy, vivid wine. Very good+ 87/100

Garrafeira 2000
Savoury, dry dusty nose with vibrant cherryish fruit and some spice. The palate is juicy and sappy with some spiciness to the savoury berry fruit. Juicy and vibrant with nice acidity. Tasty in a medium-weight style. Very good 87/100

Quinta du Corujão
From 12 hectares of vines.

Quinta du Corujão Reserva 2001
Lovely forward nose shows bright, spicy cherryish fruit – perfumed with a herbal edge. The palate is juicy and modern with good acidity. Very nicely defined and rounded in a mid/lightweight style. Very good+ 88/100 (2.80 ex cellars)

Quinta du Corujão Garrafeira 2000
Vivid, spicy, oaky nose with some tarriness to the bright red fruits. The palate has some tarry, spicy fruit together with taut herbal character. Dry finish with good acidity and some tannins. Very good+ 86/100 (5.25 ex cellars)

Quinta Vale des Escadinhas/SociedadeAgrícola de Silgueiros (Quinta da Falorca)
A company formed by the merger of two agricultural families, Vale des Escadinhas has three vineyards in Silgueiros as well as olives, nuts and a pine plantation. There’s been some investment in modernizing the winery. The wines are pretty good.
Shown by Pedro Baros Figueiredo (pedrofigueiredo@qve.pt)  Website: www.qve.pt

Quinta da Falorca Tinta Roriz 2002
Good depth on the nose which shows rich, dark fruits with some spiciness. The palate is rounded and ripe with nice smoothness to the chewy, herby fruit. There’s some tannic structure here as well as good acidity. A fresh, herby, cherryish wine with nice fruit quality. Very good+ 87/100

Quinta da Falorca Touriga Nacional 2002
Quite an expressive herby nose with a tarry, spicy edge to the red berry fruits. The palate is ripe and quite elegant with a lively spicy, herby character and juicy fruit. Fresh, vibrant wine with good acidity in a midweight style. Very good+ 88/100

Sociedade Agrícola Boas Quintas
(Quinta da Fonte do Ouro)
This quality minded operation was established in 1991, and is based on 10 hectares of vineyards divided into three plots, two in Mortágua and one in Nelas. 90% of the vines are red, and half are of Touriga Nacional. New French oak is used here.

Quinta Fonte do Ouro Tinto 2000
Quite a smooth, ripe, juicy nose with some mintiness. The palate is modern with a minty oak overlay to the smooth, ripe red fruits. Very modern and rounded – almost a new world take on Dão. According to the technical fiche this has 3.2 g/litre residual sugar, which might explain the rounded fruit character. Very good+ 87/100

Quinta Fonte do Ouro Touriga Nacional 2001
Beguiling modern sweet nose showing ripe herby, minty, menthol notes along with sweet black fruits. The palate is lively with powerful sweet ripe fruit and a tarry edge. High acidity. Some spiciness from the oak, too, with an unusual tangy, acidic finish. I’m not completely sure about this but it will have lots of fans for its forward, modern style. Very good+ 88/100

The União das Adegas Cooperativas DO Dão (UDACA) is a union of 10 cooperatives working together, and altogether this group is responsible for a staggering 60% of all DO Dão wines produced. Both these wines here were of good quality.

Adro da Sé Reserva 2000 Dão
Modern packaging. Quite a fresh nose, showing subtly herby dark fruits. The palate is midweight with nice supple fruit (red berries, cherries) and juicy acidity. A modern style but showing good typicity. Not big but nice quality of fruit. Very good+ 87/100

Touriga Nacional 1999
Aged in American, French and Russian oak. Dark coloured. Quite a deep complex nose with a rich, spicy chocolatey edge to the red berry fruits, and some vanilla notes. The palate is juicy and quite rich with some spicy complexity to the deep red and black fruits. A modern, structured take on Touriga Nacional. Works well, if a little oaky. Very good+ 88/100

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