Lesser known regions, or simply not as celebrated as the one’s there believed to resemble, tends to get epithets such ad the Dão region in Portugal – Portugal’s Burgundy. When mentioning Dão and Burgundy at one breath it doesn’t mean the wines look alike – actually I find no resemblance but the acidity giving the both wines backbone – and the choice of a most perfumed grape in both regions. Pinot Noir reigns in Burgundy; the tannic Touriga Nacional holds the throne in Dão.
So, let us stop with the comparisons – one would most likely not, in a blind tasting, place a Dão in Burgundy or the other way around. And does the lesser known district really benefit from the comparison – can’t Dão just be Dão?
The mature 2000 Barão de Nelas from Quinta de Santo António de Serrado is a perfect example of a Dão balancing tradition with more modern thinking. Still a quite dark red colour although a maturing rim. The bouquet breaths elegance and notes of saddle leather, barnyard, tar, roses, licorice and dark plums. It has evolved beautifully and really put some expectation on the taste.
At first being a bit stubborn and mostly showing acidity and oak, then it slowly starts opening up. A feeling of scorched earth, floral notes, licorice, spices, plum’s skin and underlying barrique’s. Fine and with some class, it still doesn’t reach all the way. Maybe it’s a good example on how difficult it is to produce varietal wines on Touriga Nacional and that a 10-15% of Alfrocheiro Preto and/or Tinta Roriz is needed to add complexity?
However, in this case there’s no need for negativism! The 2000 Barão de Nelas is retailing at EUR 9,75 at the Portuguese supermarket Sá and that is a true find – especially considering a personal rating at 88 points.