Álvaro Castro – if the name is not familiar yet now is the time – especially if elegance in a wine is a weak spot for you! In the region of Beiras, more precisely in the sub-area of Dâo, you will find the man that has spent his last twenty years putting the district on the map. Once an area conservatively held by the co-operatives and arcaic regulations – today an explosion of smaller quintas taking over and leading the quality revolution of especially the Touriga Nacional grape.
But don’t think of Dão as a red wine area only. Then you will miss out on the mineral driven white wines on Encruzado, Cercial, Verdelho and Bical, to mention a few – or the delicious, and so food friendly, rosé’s mainly based on Alfrocheiro Preto. Castro produces a delicate rosé at Pellada and some most individual whites under the Quinta de Saes label, mainly Encruzado, complemented with the Cercial grape. The white Saes wines will hardly qualify as crowdpleasers; although there’s nothing odd to them. They simply don’t follow any already walked paths; white Dão has found its own way.
Tasting note 2008 Quinta de Saes: The grey pears, the waxiness and honey notes, the green lemon together with wet rocks actually reminds me a bit of Luís Pato’s 2008 Vinha Formal based on the Bical grape. After a while, when opening up, a slight floral scent is added Marigolds!
On the palate it’s steely acidity and minerality greets you. Green apples, wax, lemons and wet rocks in a restrained, quite light but well balanced taste. Excellent finish. This one needs time and although in total contrast to the 2007 it’s just as good quality! Serve with some grilled white fish or octopus!
Where do you live? Álvaro Castro wines can be found in Germany at Wein-Deko, Portugal-Weinversand, in the US Castro can be found at Morrell Wine, Zachys and Vino, in Sweden at Systembolaget and in Portugal Garrafeira Nacional retails.