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Dão DOC

Description to Dão DOC

The area named after the river, with around 20,000 hectares of vineyards, was classified as a DOC in 1990 and is located in the middle of the Beiras region in the north of Portugal. Viticulture dates back to Greek antiquity. Especially in areas where vineyards have existed for centuries, one finds numerous strange cavities and depressions in the rocks in the form of stone basins (lagaretas). Presumably, grapes were pressed in these installations. This typical Portuguese method of stomping the grapes in the lagares (stone troughs) is still practised today. The area is framed on three sides by granite mountains and thus protected from the Atlantic. About 80% of the land area consists of forests, only 5% is used for viticulture. The vineyards are mostly on granite soils in the valleys of the three rivers Alva, Mondego and Dão. There are about 100,000 winegrowers who often cultivate smallest parcels of less than half a hectare. Therefore, the vineyards are highly fragmented and often widely scattered in dense eucalyptus and pine forests.

The climate varies between Mediterranean and continental with large temperature fluctuations between day and night and summer and winter. There are long, hot summers with relatively high rainfall in autumn and winter. The majority of red wines produced are rich in colour, tannin and extract, which is due to the often small-berried and hard-skinned grapes. Nine traditional grape varieties are recommended as particularly suitable, and a further thirteen are permitted in only small quantities. The special predicate designation Dão nob re (nobre = noble, noble) exists for the very best wines, which still rank above the Reserva and Garrafeira levels. The red wines may only be made from the best Alfrocheiro, Aragonez (Tempranillo), Jaen (Mencía), Rufete and Touriga Nacional varieties and must be matured for at least four years. Bical, Cerceal Branco, Encruzado, Arinto do Dão (Malvasia Fina) and Verdelho are permitted for white Dão nobre. Well-known producers are Aliança, Campos da Silva Oliveira, Casa da Insua, Casa de Santar, Dão Sul, Duque de Viseu, Fonseca, Quinta da Fonte de Ouro, Quinta das Maias, Quinta de Sães, Quinta dos Roques, Sogrape.

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