Pedro Castro Mondonca, the CEO of the CVR Dão Wine Board
Now that we are settling in knowing we are in for a long ride into the unknown; it’s time to get back to stories about great wines and great regions. In late February, I had the chance to explore the Dão region, which are wines that should be on your radar. I was guided by Pedro Castro Mondonca, the CEO of the CVR Dão Wine Board.
So why should you care about wines you may have never heard about? First of all, these wines drink way above their price range. Way above. Finding wines that are a steal in today’s crazy world is great news and these meet that bill.
Time to explore the Dão region. This region, which is surrounded by 4 mountain ranges, is located about 90 minutes to the Southeast of Portugal. It is 200 meters above sea level to 1,000 meters in the Serra da Estrela, the high mountain range to the south and east of the region.
The region is known for its reds — Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz (also Known as Aragonez, or Tempranillo), Jaen, Baga, Bastardo and Tinta Pinheira.
The whites are Encruzado, which has been compared to Chablis, as well as Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina, Rabo de Ovelha and Verdelho.
Pedro represented the CVR Dão Wine Board, the entity that certifies wine in the region, with a mission to promote standards and certification. This was his second trip to the U.S., and his first to Dallas, and we at his request, enjoyed his wines over barbecue at Mike Andersons BBQ House.
He talked about the many families that were born into wine making and what made the region unique – from the old vineyards to single variety indigenous grapes and the blends that define the region. “Wines here are often a magic potion,” he said. “You have a grape and make a potion that turns out to be magic in your glass. Then you share it with food and friends, and it becomes an experience.”
Here are the wines that we drank in the hopes that you can find them, but do not hesitate to grab any red or white from this region and dive in. It will be easy to experiment (and not tough on your wallet) to determine your favorite.