Taboadella, an exciting new winery from Portugal’s Dão region
The Amorim Group’s main activity is cork, but they are now getting increasingly involved in wine production. For 20 years, they have been running the beautifully situated Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo in the Douro, and then a few years back began planting vineyards at the large Aldea de Cima estate in the Alentejo (this is the family properties of Luisa Amorim, who runs Quinta Nova). Now they’ve launched their latest project: Taboadella in the Dão region.
Amorim bought Taboadella in June 2018. ‘We were amazed when we visited there,’ says Luisa. The Quinta goes back to Roman times and has a Roman lagar. It’s located in Satão and is the only wine quinta in the district, at an altitude of 430-500 m and with 40 hectares of vines. After the purchase they began reworking the vineyards and built an impressive new winery. One of the things they did was to remove the international grape varieties. ‘The idea is to preserve terroir and traditional grapes, capturing the soul of the place,’ says Luisa. The soils is decomposed sandy granite, surrounded by pine forests. The varietal break down is 29 hectares of red and 11 hectares of white, with Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Tinta Roriz the key red grapes (supported by Baga and Tinta Pinheira), and Encruzado, Bical and Cercial the whites.
The vineyard is located near Penalva de Castelo, northeast of Viseu, and the rainfall is 1100-1600 m, so the vines can be dry grown. ‘This is a fantastic region,’ says Luisa. ‘In the Douro we are fighting all the time against the climate.’ Here, the soils are granitic. Technically, the soil is described as porphyroid granitic, or ‘dente de cavalo’ (horse tooth). There are seven different soil types on the property, and the stage of decomposition means that these soils are low in fertility and free draining.
I tasted through the debut line-up of wines. It’s an exciting set of wines. These are made in a technologically advanced way, and are quite ripe, but despite this (I’m not a huge fan of highly technical winemaking or excessive ripeness) they are very impressive, and they are also beautifully packaged. This is an important new project for the Dão region.
Prices given in brackets are the retail prices in Portugal.
Taboadella Encruzado Reserva 2018 Dão, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Parcelas No 2, 7, altitude 530 m, west facing, 2-10% slope. There’s concentration and depth to this wine, which has powerful pear and peach fruit with some pithy notes. Lovely intensity and freshness with a mineral streak and subtle nut and toast. Fruit driven and concentrated. There’s a lot of intensity here. 92/100 (€15.90)
Taboadella Villae Branco 2019 Dão, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. This is fresh, textured and shows intense fruit. It has citrus and pear fruit with nice intensity, showing a sort of crystalline quality to the ripe fruit. Finishes fresh and finely spiced. Has some quince and melon richness. 91/100 (€9.90)
Taboadella Grande Villae Branco 2018 Dão, Portugal
14% alcohol. Full yellow in colour, this is rich and intense with pear, peach and citrus notes, with some woody, cedary notes and some crystalline character. Has a long, fresh finish, with very stylish oak adding an extra layer. Give this rich, concentrated white a little time to integrate and I think it will age well. Lots of volume here. 92/100 (€38)
Taboadella Villae Tinto 2018 Dão, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Sweetly aromatic with a slight chocolatey edge to the floral red and black fruits. The palate has a lovely floral brightness and appealing red and black fruits, with freshness, a hint of meatiness, and lovely balance. It’s really supple and fruit-driven, with a ripe profile but also freshness. 92/100 (€9.90)
Taboadella Grande Villae Tinto 2018 Dão, Portugal
14% alcohol. Amazing concentration here, allied to freshness. Astonishing intensity to the sweet cherry and berry fruits with firm, spicy structure. Almost inky fruit, with density, structure and refreshing acidity. Ripe but with freshness, and massive potential for development. Although, with its extravagant, floral, forward fruit, it’s approachable now. Impressive stuff. 95/100 (€59)
Taboadella Touriga Nacional Reserva 2018 Dão, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Parcela 12, altitude 520 m, south and southwest facing. There’s a slight tarry, chocolatey edge on the nose, and in the mouth there’s a green framing to the lovely floral black cherry and plum fruit. Fresh on the finish, with good acidity, this is a lovely expression of Touriga Nacional, with a brightness to the fruit despite the ripeness. So fresh and engaging. 93/100 (€15.90)
Taboadella Jaen Reserva 2018 Dão, Portugal
Parcelas 4, 11, 530 m, south and southeast facing. This is fine-grained, floral and supple with a lovely leafy green fringing to the sweet cherry and berry fruit. There’s ripeness and a silky structure, but also nice freshness with a peppery edge to the fruit. Has a sense of elegance and purity. 94/100 (€15.90)
Taboadella Alfrocheiro Reserva 2018 Dão, Portugal
Parcelas 6, 8, altitude 490 m, south and south west facing. This is really fresh and precise. There’s good concentration and structure, and a lovely taut raspberry and cherry character here. Has brightness and focus with a grainy structure sitting under the fruit, which is ripe and inviting, but not lush or jammy. Good weight in the mouth, with some subtle spicy oak on the finish. Such an impressive wine. 94/100 (€15.90)
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