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The wines of Quinta Sto António do Serrado, Dão, Portugal

This is a 7 ha Quinta located in the heart of the Dão region in north central Portugal. The Serrado estate has been in the same family since the 17th century. Things have clearly been modernized here: these are not the tough old Dão wines of old, and this probably reflects the fact that the vineyard was renovated in 1991. Production is around 30 000 bottles a year. I was sent three samples from the owners to assess.

I was impressed by these wines: they offer Dão typicity, and while they are evidently made in a modern style, they don’t taste at all forced or manipulated. Particularly encouraging is the restrained use of oak on the two more upmarket cuvees. Think of Dão as Portugal’s Burgundy: at their best, Dão wines offer finesse and elegance along with good acidity and vibrant cherry and red berry fruit. These wines are very good – the only thing they lack is a little more elegance that would take them up a notch in terms of quality, but they are almost there. The Touriga is an especially striking wine. Trade readers might want to know that ex cellars prices are 3.50, 6 and 8 Euros with a 25% discount of purchases of more than 1000 bottles.

Quinta Sto António do Serrado Dão 2001
Lovely herby, spicy nose with some tarry, smoky complexity. The palate shows good concentration and nice balance with a chewy, spicy, savoury character. Good acidity backs up the herby fruit. This is a really nice characterful red with some tannic structure. Nice modern winemaking without any obvious oak imprint. Very good+ 88/100

Quinta Sto António do Serrado Dão Reserva 2001
Good modern winemaking here. Quite deep coloured. Appealing nose of sweet spices,  herbs and a hint of vanilla, with some tarry richness. The palate shows rich cherry and berry fruit with good acidity and a spicy, savoury finish. Not a big wine, but lots of flavour here and nice balance. Very good+ 88/100

Barão de Nelas Touriga Nacional 2000 Dão
Totally destemmed fruit fermented in stainless steel and aged in a mix of French and American oak barrels. Lovely aromatic, perfumed nose of red fruits, herbs, tar, smoke and minerals. Complex and alluring. The palate is full flavoured and very structured with high acidity, firm tannins and lots of herby, spicy fruit. This is a bold, concentrated wine with lots of personality and a strongly savoury character. Made for food and possessing major Dão terroir. Very good/excellent 91/100

Contact: Marina Brito tel: 020 7557 0299 or 0781 601 2473

Wines tasted February 2004

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