Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Portugal's Dao Region: A Land of Many Delights!

In the North Eastern part of Portugal about one hundred miles inland of the Atlantic Ocean and just south of the Douro Area lies the Region of Dao. While demarcated as a wine region in 1908, sale of wine by growers was restricted to co-operatives which, while advantageous as a sure sale, negated any incentive to developing both a terroir based wine and private ownership pride. During the last few years and especially since the European Union came into existence there has been a major shift to private ownership and a strong move towards local, terroir driven wine.  
The wines of Dao now more than ever reflect the unique sub-regions each with its own added micro climates. Due to this emphasis similar grape varieties can differ from concentrated, bold wines to soft elegant ones; from wines of floral and herbal characteristics to those of power and earth. Much does depend on the winemaker's style but the terroir will dictate how far he could go.
Terroir and Soils of Dao
Sandy soils consisting of Granite seem to dominate in Dao with Schist outcroppings in some areas. Granite is igneous, crust rock which is reflective of the surrounding mountains in Dao. Schist is a metamorphosed rock which used to be layered sedimentary deposits of either organic substances or other rocks. Sand soil formed mostly by weathering covers the deposits. 
Vines grown on granite soils produce light, elegant wines while vines grown on schist and slate can be denser and have a higher concentration with less acidity. The soils for the most part are well drained.  
Altitude plays a major role in the consistency of the wine ----the slopes greatly increasing air drainage thus helping in times of frost. I found wines from higher elevations lighter in style but with elegance and complexity.   
Rain and Temperature Variance  
Winter rainfalls range from moderate to heavy while summers are basically dry. Temperature variances in summer greatly assist the production of both sugar and acidity in grapes. The highs of 30 degrees Centigrade and lows of 14 to 16 allow for both to form thus giving the grapes balance.
Grape Varieties Abound     
While the champion grape of Dao is the Touriga Nacional!  There are many varieties that can make up some phenomenal wines in this region.        
Winemaker Joao Tavares de Pina owner/winemaker of Quinta da Boavista in the Dao wine region welcomed me with the statement, “Dao is a ‘DO’ with more than 50 varieties of grapes”. 

Indeed Dao located in the north-western part of Portugal has a great many grape varieties ranging from the red Touriga Nacional, Aragonez (also known as Tempranillo and Tinto Roriz), Bastardo, Baga, Alfrocheiro Preto and Jaen (also called Mencia) to the white Encruzado, Cerceal, Malvasia Fina and Verdelho (Gouveio).  There are numerous other varieties.

A recent (2016) study of the wine of Dao reported in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine stated “The results suggest that the red grapes from Dao region present a good composition in bioactive compounds being important for the wines with superior quality.”

Much of the quality can be attributed to the conscientious and dedicated work to viticulturists/winemakers such as Tavares who are focused on “Natural” wine with a “hands off policy” other than hand harvesting  Many wines are co-fermented with indigenous yeasts, aged for long periods on lees and in old barrels. Many of these wines are not filtered and are long ageing!  

Dao is governed by the Portuguese classification of wines! The DOC    (Denominação de Origem Controlada or Controlled Designation of Origin) or ‘DOP’ (Denominação de Origem Protegida meaning Protected Designation of Origin) is the strictest in regulations as to grapes used, yields and approved testing.

Regional (IG or IGP or Geographical Indication) Wines and wines labelled Terras do Dão are the next categories in descending order of strictness. 

The geography of Dao itself is bordered by mountains that protect it from the effects of the Atlantic Ocean. Vineyards are generally located on sandy soil on Granite bedrock however there are ancient 500 million year old marine plots consisting or shale and clay soils resulting with wines of a mineral nature! These soils produce deeper and more intense wines. Red wine predominates though excellent white is also made.

In addition to Quinta da Boavista there are a large number of wineries making fine wine. One of them, Quinta dos Carvalhais is owned by huge wine producer Sogrape!  
Organic, Sustainable, Biodynamic 
The European Initiative on Business & Biodiversity was launched by the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union in 2007, aiming to evidence a positive relation between Business and Biodiversity and to integrate Biodiversity into Business management, therefore promoting the significant role Business can have halting the Global Biodiversity loss. The Portuguese platform is managed by the Portuguese Government through the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF), and the official Webpage of the platform can be found at their website 

While similar in methodology, the names did serve to confuse. One vineyard practiced “Biodynamic” viticulture while another was certified “Organic”. Others used the term “Sustainable Agriculture”!

Research of each term showed enough technical descriptions to “Bazinga” Sheldon of the “Big Bang Theory” television program.

I contacted Dr. James Lapsley, Associate Professor of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis who I had met in Brazil asking him for a simplified definition. His answer follows:

“Organic generally means no use of synthetic compounds and may or may not have a legal definition depending upon country. “Natural” means whatever the speaker means. “Sustainable” generally means can continue economically without degrading the environment and treating workers ethically. Biodynamic derived from Rudolph Steiner and blends mysticism (belief in invisible creatures) with organic practices. Biodynamic is a trademarked term.”

Artificial fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and herbicides which could harm the environment are therefore replaced with materials known to restore it. Biodynamic in addition to treating the whole ecosystem also takes into account astrological influences such as cycles of the moon. Further, all s necessary products from compost to pest control are produced on premises. 

I would equate “Organic” and “Natural” to mean the same thing. As Joao Tavares de Pina of Quinta da Boavista stated; “Hands Off---let Nature take its course.” 

Julia Kemper in her winery’s “Mission Statement” states, “Our mission… …in perfect harmony with nature. We have adopted organic farming… …in the respect for Earth and biodiversity. We believe in the balance in nature and we want to participate in it.”

Sustainable viticulture would suggest a slight deviation from total organic----making sure that the viticulturist does not harm the environment though using economical means to make a living and being environmentally sound.  

At Quinta dos Roques, Luis Lourenco uses a combination of modern and traditional methods to make his wine though at his Quinta das Maias organic practice is used using also wild yeast and light filtration.

Other Dao wineries use a combination of old and new technology though their organic wines seem to shine well.

Also in Dao Cabritz produces a fine organic red and Quinta da Fata prides itself on its “Classic Processes” as does Casa da Passarella! Wineries throughout the World have taken up the Organic/Sustainable/Biodynamic banner. Dao certainly seems to be far ahead of the game.   
 An Abundance of Wineries

There are many wineries in all the sub regions of Dao.  We concentrated our visits to wineries close to the City of Viseu which is the capital of the Centro region of Dao. 
Julia Kemper Wines
Our first visit was to Julia Kemper Wines (Quinta do Cruzeiro). Julia Kemper is a former lawyer with an historic family background in wine that goes back some 400 years. The winery located near the municipality of Mangualde is situated on granite soils with some schist outcrops. The elevations are between 400 and 500 metres though some can be found at the 800 metre level. It practices sustainable/organic type of agriculture. 
Wines Tasted 
Kemper Branco (White)   (Stainless fermentation but some aging in French Oak)
Varietals: 50% Encruzado 50% Malvasia Fina
Colour: Lemon green colour
Nose: Floral orange, citrus lime, mango, light vanilla
Palate: Nice mouthfeel, fresh acidity and light in body 
Kemper Elpenor Blanc de Noir     (No Oak)
Varietal: Touriga Nacional
Colour: Straw yellow
Nose: Citrus, floral, lychee nut, honey, white fruit
Palate: Medium body, fresh, orange pekoe tea, pleasant finish
Kemper Elpenor Tinta   (No Oak)
Varietals: Touriga Nacional 30%, Tinta Roriz 30%, Alfrocheiro 20%, Jaen 20%
Colour: Ruby Garnet
Nose: Wild Berries, dark fruit 
Palate: Medium to full bodied, elegant with long, pleasing finish   
Kemper Touriga Nacional (French Oak for 18 months)
Colour: Garnet
Nose: Dark fruit, vanilla, floral violet, chocolate, coffee
Palate: Elegant, full bodied, soft tannin and long persistent finish 
Kemper Curiosity (Oak aged)
Varieties: Alfrocheiro 90%, Touriga Nacional 10%
Colour: Deep red/purple
Nose: Floral Violet, ripe dark fruit, toast
Palate: Medium to full bodied, nice tannin structure and integrated. Nice length  
Quinta da Falorca 
We did not get a chance to visit this winery due to some misunderstanding but I did get a chance to taste the wine on our dinner at CVR headquarters.
Wine Tasted

Quinta da Falorca T-nac  (Stainless Steel)
Varieties: Touriga Nacional
Colour: Red
Nose: Floral, red fruit
Palate: Medium to full body,  ripe fruit, soft tannin, lingering finish

Quinta dos Roques
Quinta dos Roques is situated far out on its own between the municipalities of  Mangualade and Nelas.  It was founded in 1989  by former mathematician  Luis Lourenco who showed himself to be quite an experimenter. His lecture on wine was entertaining as well as informative. Two things stuck in my mind. The first was his statement that while there were many varieties in Dao, most of the wines were blends. He also referred to his former occupation by saying, "In mathematics two plus two equals four but in wine it seldom equals four!"  He purchased another Quinta called Quinta das Maias in 1997 though wine under that name was produced at Roques five years hence! Wines from both Quintas are produced separately. The vineyards of Roques are located at a height of 400 to 600 metres while the Maias is higher.
His wines ---especially a lovely Alfrocheiro---were very well made. His comment that Alfrocheiro was especially interesting to me. He said that it was a grape that "had a mind of its own and difficult to predict"  that "in years where most vines had poor results, it made super grapes and thus wine but in good years for most, it made poor grapes/wine! The agricultural style is a sustainable style at Roques while Organic at Maias. Soils structures are Granite with outcrops of clay and schist! 
Luis also gave an excellent description of the grapes he uses and how each affects the wine that is made. 
Wines Tasted       
Quinta dos Roques Branco (Stainless Steel)
Colour: Pale yellow
Varieties: Blend of Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Cerceal, Bical, Verdelho
Nose: Citrus, mineral, white fruit, herbal
Palate: Fresh, clean, some citrus, light body. 
Quinta das Maias Branco (Stainless Steel)
Colour: lemon Yellow
Varieties:  Encruzado, Malvasia Fina
Nose: Lemon Citrus, melon, some orange, mineral
Palate: Flavourful citrus, medium body, fresh, crisp with pleasant lingering finish

Roques Encruzado (French Oak)
Colour: Golden straw Yellow
Nose: Tropical Fruit, vanilla, citrus lemon, cantaloupe
Palate Medium body, smooth, inviting.
Quinta das Maias Malvasia Fina  (Light Oak)
Colour: Light amber yellow
Variety: Malvasia Fina
Nose: Floral, honey spice, nutmeg,  citrus lime and stone fruit
Palate: Light to Medium body,  non intrusive acidity,  touch of toast, light fruit.
Roques Touriga Nacional   (Barrel aged)
Colour: Dark Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: Dark fruit,  pepper spice, floral violet
Palate: Full bodied, elegant, ripe tannin, pleasant mouthfeel and  long on the palate.
Quinta das Maias Jaen   (Some Oak) 2016
Colour: Dark Crimson 
Variety: Jaen
Nose: Somewhat closed, light wood vanilla, ripe red fruit
Palate: Medium body, somewhat hesitant and firm, herbal connotations and  developing tannins, pronounced finish! 
Maias 2003 (Stainless ?)
Colour: Deep Crimson 
Variety: Jaen
Nose: Anise, succulent, light and smooth on nose
Palate: Juicy, elegant, fruit forward and light acid. Noticeable tannin!  Sweet finish
Roques Alfrocheiro  (Oak aged)
Colour: Brilliant red
Variety: Alfrocheiro
Nose:  Floral notes of wildflowers, strawberry and raspberry, red fruit and vanilla notes.
Palate: Elegant, medium bodied, integrated and balanced. Long finish and class act.

Global Wines and Sprits
It seems that the two following wineries come under the auspices of Global Wines and Spirits---a large multinational enterprise that includes many wines and in many countries. Some of Global Wines Dao products such as Cabriz and Vinha Maria are available at the LCBO outlets in Ontario Canada as well as the SAQ in Quebec. For excellent value/quality/price ratio, they are excellent. 

Paco dos Cunhas
Restored 17th Century Build offers fine wine and excellent atmosphere and dining.  The building was restored by the Global Wines Group.
Wine Tasted

Vinha do Contador  Branco (50% French Oak)
Colour: Lemon Yellow
Grape Variety: Encruzado 60%, Malvasia 30%, Cerceal Branco 10%
Nose: White Fruit, Vanilla, Nuts, Apple
Palate: Elegant, medium body, mineral, fruit forward and long in finish  

Vinha do Contador Tinto Grande Juri (French Oak)
Colour: Garnet
Variety: Touriga Nacional 60%, 20% Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro 20%  
Nose: Powerful aroma/bouquet  of violets, black fruit, leather, smoke
Palate: Full body with good mouthfeel, ripe black fruit, integrated and balanced with long finish.
Quinta de Cabriz/Cabriz
Wine Tasted (No Oak)
Cabriz Branco
Colour: Pale Yellow
Varieties: -Encruzado 50%, Bical 30%,  Malvasia Fina 10%, Cerceal Branco 10%
Nose: Tropical fruits, herbal, citrus, pineapple
Palate: Light bodied, Fresh acidity. citrus, persistent finish.
Quinta de Cabriz Reserva Branco (Oak Aging)
Colour:  Lemon Yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose : Vanilla, citrus, tropical fruit
Palate: Medium Body, citrus, butterscotch, pleasant finish.
Cabriz Touriga Nacional Branco  (No Oak)
Colour: Citrus Lemon
Variety: Touriga Nacional 
Nose: Floral citrus blossoms, meadow, dry leaves,  ripe red fruit
Palate: Medium body, pleasant mouthfeel, crisp acidity, fresh and persistent finish.

Cabriz Touriga Nacional Tinto (No Oak)
Colour: Garnet
Variety: Tourga Nacional
Nose: Wild floral notes of violet, ripe red berries, herbal spice
Palate: Medium body, fruity and fresh, easy going pleasant finish.
Cabriz Touriga Nacional Reserva (Oak)
Colour: Deep red
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz
Nose: Wild Blackberry, raspberry, smoke, vanilla, floral
Palate: Full body, pebbles, smooth tannin, long anise/fig finish. 

Lusovini is a large international company with wide reaches around the World. It has offices in many major cities in countries such as: Brazil, Angola, United States, Portugal, Asia and Mozambique. Its foray into wine is evident in the strides it has made in Dao and many Portuguese regions. 
Cannot find my notes on Lusovini so will include several of their wines and descriptions from website!
Wines Tasted
Flor de Nelas Emiliano    (Oak aged)
Colour: Yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: White fruit, citrus
Palate:  Fresh with medium body, persistent.

Pedra Cancela (Oak Fermented and Aged)
Colour: Bright Yellow
Variety: Malvasia Fina, Encruzado
Nose: White fruit, mineral, citrus
Palate: Medium body, pleasant mouth feel 

Flor de Santar (No Oak)
Colour: Garnet
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro
Nose: Red Berries
Palate: Red Berries, Fresh and lively. 
Amplitude (Oak aged)
Colour: Intense red with purple
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Very old Tinta Roriz vines
Nose: Rosemary and violet, ripe fruit
Palate: Full bodied, firm, full flavoured and long finish  

Pedra Cancela Winemaker's Selection (Oak Aged)
Colour: Ruby
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz
Nose: Red fruits, plum, cocoa
Palate: Medium Body, elegant with fresh acidity and long finish.

Casa da Passarella 
Casa da Passarela's history goes back to the late 19th Century and is also credited as a founder of the Demarcated Region in 1908.  Its wines are named after historic events in Dao. For Example, VILLA OLIVEIRA existed long before the Demarcation of Dao in 1908 and the limited edition wine by that name now exists over a century later.
Passarela was acquired and restored in 2007 by Ricardo Cabral in 2007.  Paulo Nunes was appointed to restore the wine program. Many of the vines are at or over 100 years of age. Handling is traditional, in concrete vats and large old wood, with fruit manually crushed by traditional devices. Passarella is in a special high-altitude terroir, the Serra de Estrela – very high, cold and poor soils close to Portuguese/Spanish border. The climate is dry Continental, and the soil poor granitic sand. Altitudes are up to 600 metres.  
 The "O  ENOLOGO"  class is based upon a story that was shared by the brother of a Nobel prize winner in Winemaking, Hellis Montaigne. Speaking to the crowd brother Andre Huppert spoke of the fact that if it had not been for him, his brother would not have received the award  and now the coincidence was the fact that his brother had passed away and he, Andre Huppert was receiving the award in his brother's name!  ABANICO, O BRAZILEIRO, ENEXERTIA, A DESCOBERTA and  FUGITIVO all are similarly based  on stories of wine and of course are labels in Casa da Passarella's portfolio of wines
Wines Tasted:
General Class  O ENOLOGO 
Encruzado 2017  (Oak aged in small used French oak barrels)
Colour: Light yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: citrus lemon, floral, mineral, bit of peach/apricot
Palate: touch of citrus lemon, fresh acidity, medium body, fruit on the end note.   
Encruzado 2016   (Oak aged in small used French oak barrels)
Colour: Yellow (darker than previous wine)
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Floral, ripe fruits and citrus nuances, maybe banana?   
Palate: Juicy, medium body, fresh acidity, balanced and persistent fruit driven finish.
Old Vines 2014 (Manual harvest, steel vats, cement fermentation and 18 months in Oak) 
Colour: Dark red
Varieties: Vineyard blend of 24 plus varieties including: Baga, Touriga Nacional, Alvarelhão, Tinta Pinheira, Jaen, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Carvalha.
Nose: Dried dark fruit, smoke, leather, vanilla wood, very complex and evolving.
Palate: Full body, chewy, black fruit, cherries, evolving tannin and very long finish.   
General Class: Descoberta
Colour: Garnet Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen
Nose:  Ripe red and black berries, floral violet,. 
Palate: Full body, anise, thick tannin, balanced structure, long finish

General Class: Enxertia  (Each year certain vines develop uniquely more than other years. Some years it is Alfrocheiro and others it is Jaen or another variety. That grape develops and reflects the philosophy of the vineyard. Enxertia was created to display such a grape. It is called Enxertia.
Jaen 2013 (Spontaneous fermentation in cement vats. Aged 12 months in barrel and 18 months in bottle).
Colour: Red
Variety: Jaen
Nose: Pepper, herbal vegetables, smoke, leather
Palate: Medium to full body, elegant, smooth tannin,  mineral and long finish.
General Class: Oliveira: This class is based upon a highly special edition for the oldest brand at the winery (100 years +). 
Touriga Nacional: (Fermented in cement vats, aged in barrel for 18 months, hand picked and not filtered).
Colour: Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose:  Ripe berries, sweet vanilla oak, hazel nut, honey, flora violet
Palate:  Elegant, Red and black berries, full bodied,pepper, mineral, long finish.

 General Class Fugitivo 
Centenarias  2015 (Fermentation done with indigenous yeasts in cement vats and aged in French oak for 18 months).  Colour: Ruby Red
Varieties: Similar to Old Vines with a large number of vines which are cultivated together and have adapted to the soil/climate/each other together with the only difference being the vines are 100 plus years old.
Nose: Dry leaves, forest vegetation, wood, red fruits, earth
Palate: Medium to Full Bodied, forest,  elegant, smooth, juicy in mid palate, long enduring finish
Quinta do Simao da Aguiera (Vinhos Borges)
Wine Tasted
Meia Encosta Branco ( Partly aged in French/American Oak for 6 Months).
Colour: Pale Yellow
Varieties: Malvasia Fina, Encruzado, Bical, Fernao Pires
Nose: White stone fruit, mineral some floral blossoms.
Palate: Medium to almost full body, chunky, well balanced and pleasant acidity. 
Borges Reserve Branco  (Fermentation for four weeks then 85% ferment in French Oak then 8 months on lees.
Colour: Light yellow
Varieties: Bical, Encruzado, Malvasia Fina
Nose: Citrus Lemon, Tropical Vanilla, Wood, Banana/Pineapple
Palate; Elegant, Citrus, Medium Body, balanced with fine acidity, pleasant fresh finish. 

Meia Encosta Rose (Aged on lees four months)
Colour: Pink
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz
Nose: Rose notes with red fruit 
Palate: Light to Medium body, some light strawberry, fresh acidity, long finish.
Meia Encosta Red (Part Stainless Steel and Part French Oak Aging for 6 Months)
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz
Nose: Red Fruits, Plum, vanilla wood, toast
Palate: Full body, plum, vanilla spice, soft tannin, well balanced with good acidity. Nice finish. 
Borges Reserve Red (Long fermentation with skins, induced malolactic fermentation and French oak aging  24 months).
Colour: Ruby red
Varieties; Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional
Nose: Citrus Bitter Orange, pine sol, eucalyptus, mint, coniferous forest
Palate: Full body, elegant, integrated and structured, Long finish
Borges Quinta de Sao Simao da Aguiera (Part aged in stainless steel and other in French Oak for 18 Months)
Colour: Deep Garnet
Varieties: Jean, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz 
Nose: Red fruits, Floral blossoms
Palate: Full body,  smooth, nice balance and structure and very long finish.

Quinta do Perdigao
Wines were not tasted at the Perdigao estate but were worth mentioning due to their excellent quality. Perdigao is a small estate of about seven hectares situated near the Dao river and close to the regions centre city of Viseu. Historically the lands of this area go back to Prince Henry (also Henry the Navigator), a 15th Century explorer. 
Wines Tasted
 Alfrocheiro    (Oak aged 12 months in French Oak)
Colour: Deep Red
Variety: Alfrocheiro
Nose: Red and Black  with some dry ripeness attached. 
Palate: Medium, elegant, nice cherry finish. 
UDACA (Union Das Adegas Cooperativas do Dao)
Since 1966 the Union of Cooperative Cellars from Dao has worked to promote and market Dao and its wines to all markets. At present it handles some 60 % of the wines made in Dao under its banner ----with rigorous quality control from harvest to bottling. Wine is produced by the co-ops but blended by UDACA in an international style. Some 80 % is exported. It must be noted that many of the coops make also their own wine to sell on their own..  
Wines Tasted  
Dom Divino: (Stainless steel, no oak)
Colour: Pale yellow
Varieties: Malvasia Fina, Bical, Encruzado, Cercel Branco
Nose: Citrus lime, peach, apricot, pear some mineral and subtle blossom floral
Palate: Light body, fresh acidity, nice finish. 
Adro da Se Encruzado (Fermented with skins, 12 months in French Allier Fino Barrels)
Colour: Lemon yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Vanilla wood, herbal lemon, floral blossom some tropical fruits/melon.
Palate:  Light to medium body, balanced with mineral quality, long persistent finish. 
Irreverente Rose 
Colour: Pink
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Jaen
Nose: Strawberry/Cherry/Raspberry ---each showing as wine evolves in glass, floral blossom
Palate: Light to medium light in body, fresh acidity and balance,  pleasant citrus orange finish.
Dom Divino Red
Colour: Red 
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Jaen
Nose: Violet, Black fruit,herbal spice, bubble gum
Palate: Medium body, fresh velvety in mouth, long finish
Adri da Se Reserva (2 years stainless steel and 6 months in French Alliers Fino Oak) 
Colour: Dark Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Jaen
Nose: Ripe Red/Black fruits, vanilla ,  pepper/cinnamon spice 
Palate: Medium to Medium full body, nice tannin, integrated, long finish. 
Touriga Nacional (12 months in French Allier Fino Oak after fermentation 8-10 days)
Colour: Ruby Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: leaf and moss, ripe fruit, pepper and herbal spice
Palate: Full Body, refined, intense involvement in mouth, strong and long finish

Invulgar Red ( 12 months in French oak after fermentation of 14 days and aging in bottle)
Colour: Very dark red 
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro
Nose: Laboratory, floral violet, orange citrus,  plum, vanilla
Palate: Full, firm tannin, strong and powerful, may need time to age.   
Tesouro da Se-Private Selection ( 12 months in French Oak after 14 fermentation period)
Colour: Deep Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro
Nose: Vanilla, chocolate, black berry fruit, some violet tones
Palate: Full, with good structure and balance. Soft tannin and long Black Berry finish.

Casa da Insua
Built in the 18th century and surrounded by gardens and farmland Casa da Insua is both a historic, gastronomic and oenological  wonder. Serving also as a hotel it offers great adventure on all the above fields. Casa da Insua has wine classes and makes several high quality wines. 
Wines Tasted  
Casa da Insua Vinho Espumante (Traditional/Classical Method)
Color: Pale Yellow
Variety: Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Semillon
Nose: Bread, floral, youthful and elegant
Palate: Fine bubbles, light, vivid, fresh with a dry finish. 

Casa da Insua Vino Branco Colheita (3 months in Allier Oak)
Color: Lemon Yellow
Varieties: Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Semillon
Nose:  Herbal, vegetable,  white fruit, citrus
Palate: Light to medium Body, mineral pebbles, fresh acidity, and long finish
Casa da Insua Encruzado Reserva (Oak aged)
Colour: Lemon Yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: light wood,  citrus, delicate floral notes, pear, peach nuances 
Palate:  Medium body, citrus, long persistent finish
Casa da Insula Tinto Reserva (18 months in French Oak)
Colour: Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alicante Boushet
Nose: Floral nuances of violets and meadow, herbal and pepper spice, fig notes
Palate: Full bodied, velvet mouthfeel, soft tannin, integrated, long finish.
Quinta do Fata
This Quinta was initially built in the 19th Century and is recognized easily by the one hundred year old Linden or Bass Wood tree growing in its courtyard.  Located between the Serra Estrela and Serra do Carmulo mountains it has produced wine for well over a century. Historically speaking the Quinta is famous also for its founder Dr. Eurico Amaral, father of the present owners and one of the founders and number one partner of the first winery in the region---The Cooperativa de Nelas Winery. The winery presently performs both as winery and a hotel. 
Wines Tasted:
Quinta Fata Branco (Stainless Steel Fermentation with 5 months in oak barrels) 
Colour: Lemon Yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Mineral, citrus, herbal, apple, pear and mild vanilla
Palate: Medium body, citrus, fresh acidity.
Quinta do Fata Vinho Tinto (Fermented in granite vats via feet and then 6 months in French and two year old American oak barrels, lightly filtered)  
Colour: Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro
Nose: Red fruit, vanilla wood, some floral and toast
Palate:Medium to full, fresh, lingering.
Quinta do Fata Reserva (Fermented in traditional granite vats and pressed by foot,  aged 12 months in French and American oak, very lightly filtered)
Colour: Deep Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional 50%, Tinta Roriz 25%, Alfrocheiro 25%  
Nose: Ripe red and black fruit, vanilla, toast
Palate: Full bodied, soft and lingering tannin. Nice length!

Quinta do Fata Touriga Nacional Grande Reserva ( Traditional foot crushing in granite vats, 12 months in French and American oak, light filtration
Colour: Dark Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional 
Nose: Violets, ripe black fruit and vanilla wood
Palate: Full, Fresh with soft tannin, firm structure and long finish.

Quinta do Fata Conde Vilar Secco Garrafeira (Oak aged in American and French oak plus long time in bottle)
Colour: Deep red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: Ripe dark fruit, dried figs, dark chocolate, vanilla wood
Palate: Full body, forward but chewy tannin, jam, lingering finish. Amazing wine!
Soc. Boas Quintas
The story of Boas Quintas began in the Dao region of Portugal in 1991 when Nuno Cancela de Abreu decided to devote all his experience in farming and oenology to viticulture. Backed by 130 years of family involvement in farming and wine making tradition he produced wines of high quality. He  expanded to  other wine regions of Portugal. Nuno was recognized as }Winemaker of the Year" in 2016 and the company was named "Company of the Year" that same year. 
Boas Quintas is the umbrella under which a number of wineries and brands exist. It also is very in tune to nature recognizing the need for Biodiversity in Business and has a set a path to the recognition of the value of ecosystems and the sensitivity that these ecosystems have. 
Indeed this is a very interesting company.
Wines Tasted
Fonte do Ouro Branco (After fermentation wine is kept and stirred on lees for two months: batonage).
Color: Lemon Yellow
Variety: Encruzado 70%, Arinto 30%
Nose: Apple, pear, peach, some citrus,  
Palate: Light to Medium body, fresh very round pleasant finish
Opta Encruzado (a winery brand founded in 2013 in a partnership with Camilo Leite) Wine is fermented after grapes crushed. No oak.
Colour: Pale Green
Variety: Encurzado
Nose: Citrus lemon, apple, pear with peach undertones, some floral blossom
Palate: Mineral, elegant with citrus on tongue, light to medium body and fresh finish
Fonte do Ouro Reserve Speciale Branco (Fermentation done in new French oak barrels, 60% oak then aged four months in the barriques on lees) 
Colour:  Greenish yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Citrus, banana/pineapple/mango, vanilla
Palate: Medium to full with tropical melange flavours, nice acidity, long persistent finish
Fonte do Ouro Tinto (Fermented to malolactic then aged 6 months in French Allier)
Colour: Ruby Red
Varieties: 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Jaen 30% Alfrocheiro
Nose: Red fruit melange, burnt leaves, smoke, vanilla wood
Palate: Full body, elegant, pleasant acidity, fresh and food worthy
Opta Touriga Nacional 2016 (2 days of skin contact prior to fermentation for five days with skins, no oak)
Colour: Dark red/purple
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: Black fruit (mature blackberry, black currents) violets
Palate: Full, violet melange, soft tannin, black fruit on back of nose, long finish

Fonte Do Ouro Touriga Nacionale Special Reserve 2016 (Long fermentation, malolactic fermentation in new Allier oak then aged in barrels for 12 months).
Colour: Dark ruby red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: Strong floral violet, citrus orange, ripe black berry, currant, vanilla, chocolate
Palate: Full body, integrated/ balanced, black berry and fruit nuances, keeps evolving in mouth, nice acidity and long long finish.
Opta Grande Reserve 2015 (Cold maceration for three days plus long maceration with oxygenating juice to obtain maximum from grapes).
Colour: Brilliant Red
Varieties: 65% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 15 % Alfrocheiro
Nose: Earth, Eucalyptus, Black Fruit, Anise 
Palate: Full body, Rich, elegant, harmonious with long finish.

Fonte do Ouro Grande Reserve 2015 (cold maceration for three days with long maceration with oxygenating juice (delestage) malolactic fermentation in French Allier Oak and aged in them for 18 months.)
Colour: Red
Varieties: 90% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Roriz, 5% Jaen
Nose: Black currant/blackberry, plum, floral violet, vanilla spice
Palate: Full and concentrated with black fruit and dark chocolate, long finish

Seacampo (Casa Americo)
Situated at between 500 and 600 metres in altitude the 100 year old, 100 hectare winery/vineyard goes back to the 18th Century and also back to the dream of a Americo Seabra who had a dream of producing wine in his homeland Vila Nova de Tazém. His third generation family now looks after the estate which has flourished. Casa Americo now has several wineries under its umbrella including Quinta do Paco, Quinta da Cerca, Quinta do Aral Quinta Nova-Caramuja.       
Wine Tasted
Casa Americo Branco (unoaked cool fermentation)
Colour: Very Pale Yellow
Varieties:Bical, Cerceal Branco, Encruzado
Nose: Floral, Citrus
Palate: Light Body, refreshing acidity 

Casa Americo Encruzado ( 3 months in French oak barrels)
Colour: Lemon yellow
Variety: Encruzado
 Nose:Cream, mineral, citrus, vanilla wood, Tripical fruit
Palate: Medium body, creamy, citrus and persistent finish
Casa Americo Tinto (no oak)
Colour: Red
Varieties: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Jean
Nose: Red fruit, pepper, dry fruit
Palate: Full, round, long finish
Casa Americo Jaen (no oak)
Colour: Red
Variety: Jaen
Nose: Red Fruit, pepper spice
Palate: Full, elegant, smooth tannin and pleasant finish.

 Casa Americo Touriga Nacional (8 months in French oak).
Colour: Dark Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional
Nose: Violets,  Pepper spice, cinnamon, vanilla, dried figs, wild berry melange
Palate: Full, powerful, round and rich. Long finish
Magnum Vinhos/Carlos Lucas/ Quinta do Ribeiro Santo
Winemakers Carlo Lucas and Carlos Rodrigues collaborated together to form a huge wine company called Magnum Vinhos. Carlo Lucas has been associated as head winemaker of wine giant Dao Sul better known as Global Wines. Carlos Lucas has and is producing wines in many parts of Portugal and the World. It is hard to keep up with both Carlos' experiences and successes but the next project that they have collaborated on is  the winery Quinta do Ribeiro Santo located Carregal Sal at the foot of the Serra da Estrela mountain.  Here Carlos Lucas wants to create a wine with its own personality. 
The property complete with river, was quite old and belonged to the Parish Priest and was thus named Quinta Ribeiro Santo or Holy River Estate.   
Wines Tasted
Ribeiro Santo Bruto Reserva (Traditional Method) 
Colour: Yellow
Varieties: Encruzado, Cerceal, Bical
Nose: Honeysuckle, yeast, apple pie,  ripe white fruit, citrus

Palate: Light, crisp, small bubbles, citrus, mineral
Ribeiro Santo Barrel Tasting 
Colour: Cloudy
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Ferment, Grapefruit, apple
Palate. Fizzy: citrus, light  
Ribeiro Santo Brut Nature  (Traditional Method)
Colour: Golden orange with pinkish hue
Varieties:Touriga Nacional
Nose:Citrus orange/apricot 
Palate: Fine bubbles, citrus,  cream pleasant acidity.
Ribeiro Santo Vinha da Neve 2016 (6 months in French oak)
Colour: Pale Yellow
Varieties: Encurzado
Nose: Grapefruit, ripe white fruit,, vanilla
Palate: pebbles, citrus, light to medium body, nice lengthy finish.
Ribeiro Santo Vinha da Never 2011 (6 months French oak) 
Colour: Dark yellow,
Variety: Encruzado
Nose: Ripe stone fruit, citrus, creamy butter, toast, herbal texture.
Palate: Light to medium body, Creamy, toast, citrine finish
Ribeiro Santo Envelope 2015 (Fermented on lees and then aged 6 months in 300 litre barrels)
Colour: Yellow
Variety: Encruzado
Nose! :  Herbal nuances of
Palate: Light to medium body, pebble minerality, 
Ribeiro Santo Branco Escolha 2007 (Fermented in oak, stirred on lees, aged in oak for 6 moths)
Colour: Amber yellow 
Varieties: Encruzado, Malvasia Fina
Nose: Vanilla, honey, caramel,  blossom
Palate: Creamy, vanilla wood, citrus on finish.
Ribeiro Santo Red Reserva 2009 3 weeks fermentation plus aged in used oak barrels.
Colour: Red
Varieties : Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz
Nose: Floral violets, bramble berry, light vanilla spice,
Palate:  Medium to full body, soft tannin, long finish 
Ribeiro Santo Grand Eschola 2013 (3 Weeks Fermentation, 14 months in oak)
Colour: Dark Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cao
Nose; Wild violets, blossoms, vanilla, burnt wood, dry fruit, ripe figs
Palate: Full bodied, nice mouthfeel, long finish.  
Ribeiro Santo ET 2013 (Red and White Grapes vinified together and aged 12 months in oak)
Colour:  Garnet Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Encruzado 
Nose:  Red fruit, vanilla and cinnamon spice with floral notes
Palate: Medium to full body, nice tannin and nice acidity

Ribeiro Santo Snow Wine 2013 (Controlled Fermentation then 12 months in New French oak)
Colour: Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Cao.
Nose: Black fruit, vanilla and pepper spice, mineral
Palate: Medium to full, pebble, full tannin and long finish.   
Ribeiro Santo Carlos Lucas Red (Fermentation and 18 months in oak)

Colour: Dark Red
Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Cao
Nose: Herbal, burnt leaves, vanilla, pepper, earth and smoke.
Palate: Medium to full, nice tannin, integrated and balanced with long finish.

Montebelo Aguieira lake Resort
The crystal clear, quiet waters of the Aguieira dam set the stage for a number of recreational and leisure activities which have been the main calling card for those who enjoy true contact with nature. The ultra modern five star hotel has everything one has to offer including boating, water sports, nature, special events and meeting places. The food is out of this world good and the wine is amazing. Always with Dao wine plentiful!  A truly must see place.

NOTE: While I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible some notes were incomplete and others due to my writing, not so readable. For that I apologize.