Full reds and light and fresh whites
With a length of approximately 376 000 ha - of which about 20,000 are occupied by vineyards - the demarcated region of Dão is one of the largest in the country.
Surrounding it, the Estrela, Caramulo, Lousã, Buçaco, Nave and Açor Mountains acting as natural barriers protect the vines from the influence of Atlantic winds and the continent. These mountains are crossed by some of the most iconic rivers in the country: Vouga, Paiva, Mondego and famous Dão, in the region core, which gave the name to the official designation. These are some of the natural conditions conferring identity to these wines, both reds and whites. But there's more ...
Borrado das Moscas (also known as Bical), Bastardo, Rufete (or Tinta-Pinheira), Alfroncheiro-Preto and Jaen may at first look to be something different than what they actually are: some of the 18 white and red varieties recommended and authorized within the demarcated region of Dão. A rich heritage which embodies high-quality wines.
These varieties share the same soil with other better-known ones as Tinta Roriz (that in Alentejo is called Aragonês or Touriga Nacional - this latter also common in Douro), a queen variety in Dão. as far as white varieties are concerned, Encruzado excels.
The grape variety is the watchword as there are in Portugal almost three hundred and fifty varieties - a greater number than in any country with tradition in this field. In many cases, this is due to variants within the same species, and in other, merely due to the fact that they have local denominations: as the case is with Fernao Pires from Ribatejo, which is no other than Maria Gomes in Bairrada ...
A long, long time ago...
The history of wine in Dão region is old of thousand of years, however, from a legal standpoint, it can be said that it is contemporary with the Portuguese Republic. Only with the Law of September 18, 1908, it was formally recognized the demarcated region of Dão that two years later would finally have regulation, regarding both its production and the marketing of its wines.
The schist soils in the south, and granite ones in the north, coupled with the hot and dry summer and the severe, cold and rainy winter make for the natural conditions that give full-bodied red rubies that know how to age with nobility, becoming softer and velvety. Whites are distinguished by their yellow color and citrus-fruity flavor.
If you wish to better know this region, nothing better than taking the Dão Wine Route, which members are cellars, producers, bottlers, cooperatives, wineries, wine bars and wine museums in the region.
Organized in a network, members open their doors to oenophiles (either merely interested in wine related stuff, great connoisseurs or just beginners) and provide for a range of services such as visits to vineyards and wineries, wine tasting and buying bottles of local production. The rural tourism is increasingly frequent and acts as headquarters for wine related activities. The Casa de Santar, in Santar, organizes visits to their wineries with wine tasting included. Equally well known is Quinta de Cabriz, in Carregal do Sal.