RKS Wine: Dão Delights

130 kilometres southwest of Porto you’ll find yourself in Dão’s capital Viseu which is a quaint city and very much lower key than Porto probably as it is a landlocked area and there are none of the culture killing cruise ships with their ruinous trail of destruction. The Dão landscape is in some parts like being in a different planet with huge boulders littering the landscape. The Dão can produce some excellent wines and the area’s cuisine is top notch. We visited some 10 wineries getting a chance for a deep dive. As for reds you can get the same Douro red grapes but you’ll encounter Jaen (most likely the same as Mencía) and Alfrocheiro. And as in the Douro most reds are blends.

Mushroom Risotto in the Dão: Photo Robert K. Stephen

We try a Bergamota Private Selection which is 80% Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Roriz, 5% Jaen, 5% Alfrocheiro and 5% others. I have a feeling that this is a negociant wine meaning the grapes or the finished wine were bought from third parties and bottled by ENG No4483 for GOTA LDA in a Viseu industrial park.

On the nose black cherry predominates but there is also cranberry and raspberry and some black licorice. On the palate the tannins are gentle initially but intensify as the wine opens up. There is an interesting taste of cherries dipped in melted chocolate with some rather high-toned red cherry. A simple but intriguing wine with a unique personality. It plays with cherry like a coyote playing with a mouse before it gobbles its poor victim up. So lets just call this wine playful. Being on the Portuguese track why not match this with Cataplana? Being playful let’s go Mexican and mix this with a Red Snapper Vera Cruz? Or how about a vegetarian Putanesca Pasta?

I think it might marginally improve over the next couple of years.

Before I go I should tell you a slightly embarrassing story. The winemakers we visited would always give us some wine to take back on the media bus. Well getting into our hotel’s elevator in Viseu a case carrying 4 bottles gave way and the elevator was awash with a pool of red wine. My face turned the same colour as the pool of wine on the elevator floor. All in the life of a wine writer! At breakfast the next morning there was a slight smell of red wine. Not my fault!

(Bergamota Private Selection 2017, Dão DOC, Gota, Viseu, Portugal, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 646893, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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