Portugal Wine

Discovering Encruzado

Dão is a region that has been consistently surprising us with great white wines. Unfortunately, the region is still developing from its co-operative past established during Salazar’s administration. For this reason, Dão is poorly documented online, one of the most complete  sources of information is Jaimie Goode’s blog, where he reports on his visit to Portugal. Vineyards are small and winemaking requires a great deal of blending. Most of this production has been historically dedicated to red blends of Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional. The best examples are elegant and mineral.

Their most interesting white grape, Encruzado, has never been in the spotlight. Yet, it is a great alternative to Chardonnay that should not be missed by wine enthusiasts. Rich and very full bodied, it portrays a comparable flavour profile to that of the Burgandian grape and is often matured in French oak to provide a similar vanilla scented backbone. We believe that in its best form it can easily compete with Premier Crus. The granitic soils of Dão provide enough freshness to yield wines that can age and deliver great complexity.

Niepoort’s Tiara, Druida or Sogrape’s Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco Especial are excellent examples. Pictured above, Sogrape’s NV is a blend of several vintages aged in French oak barrels for 8 years and then bottled and cellared for 2 years.

Tasting notes:

Niepoort- Tiara 2017
Nose:Very mineral nose. Chalk and flint. Reductive leads to stone fruit and citrous aromas. Very intense.
Palate:White peach, lemons and white flowers. In the background a very clear minerality. Great concentration.
Structure:Piercing acid, as a Chenin or a Riesling. Dry, medium alcohol, medium body. Very long.
Druida – 2018
Nose:Matchstick, grapefruit, vanilla. Medium intensity.
Palate:Confirms nose. Some nutty flavours.
Structure:Full body, medium alcohol, high acidity increasing like Chenin (under the tongue), dry. Fine phenolic texture on palate.
Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco Especial (Bottled 2017)
Nose:Mushrooms, well integrated vanilla from French oak. Honey and dried apricots. Very serious wine.
Palate:Grapefruit, honey, yellow fruit. Saline midpalate, lime and vanilla finish. Very concentrated. Very long finish. Delicious.
Structure:Dry, crisp, high alcohol, full bodied, slight astringency (probably lees or wood tannins?).

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