Monday, March 2, 2020

Better To Stay with the DAO, if you have Long Term Goals by Philip S. Kampe

Several years ago on a European jaunt I had the possibility to visit the DAO region in Portugal. The memories of that visit linger today and were heightened by a recent dinner and wine tasting I attended at the ‘chic’ private dining room at the Crown Shy restaurant in the Wall Street area of lower Manhattan.

The way the stock has been reacting to the Coronavirus only makes it more certain to put your money into the wines from the DAO region.  Where is the DAO? Think central Portugal. It is a mountainous region with lots of rainfall in the winter and warm, dry summers. Vineyards are planted on mostly sandy, well drained soil on top of granite.

The DAO region became a DOC in 1990.  Originally the region produced bulk wine, hence the switch over to focused wines took several years, resulting in the DOC (Denominacao of Origem Controlada).

With the prestigious DOC as a backbone to growth, the region has elevated its winemaking status to ‘elite’ status. Some of the recent wines that have I have samples and has brought the DAO, with its indigenous grapes, many used as blends, into contention with wines from France, Spain and Italy include:

Quinta das Maia’s Tintoretto Jean DOC 2018 (100% Jane) 13.4%

Jaime de Almeida Barron’s Quinta das Camelias Tintoretto Reserva DOC 2015 (Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Touriga-National 13.3%

Borges Touriga National DOC 2017. (100%Touriga-Nacionel) 12.5%

Julia Kemper Wines Blanc des Noirs ‘Vinhas Selecionadas’ DOC 2018  (100% Touriga-Nacional) 12.7%

Pedra Cancela Selecao do Enologo Tinto DOC 2016. (Touriga-Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz) 13%

Pedra Cancela Reserva Tinto DOC 2016 (Touriga-Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz) 13.5%

Casa da Passarella ‘O Fugitivo Vinhas Centenarias’ Tinto DOC 2015. (Touriga-Nacional, Baga, Avarelhao, Tinta Pinheira, Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Carvalha) 13.5%

Quinta dos Roques Encruzado DOC 2018. (100% Encruzado) 13%

Pedra Cancela ‘Vinha da Fidaiga’ Encruzado DOC 2018. (100% Encruzado) 13%

Soliton Encruzado DOC 2017. (90% Encruzado and 10% Malvasia-Fina) 13.5%

Quinta do Mondego Mondeco Branco DOC 2018  (60% Encruzado and 40% Gouveio) 13.2%

What strikes me about these wines, which are a very small representation from the DAO, is the high quality of the wines paired with reasonable price points.

Stylistically, many of the whites, as stated earlier, were similar in taste to the wines from Burgundy, while the reds can be compared to the soft, tannic reds from Burgundy. Native grapes, especially the white grape, Encruzado, and the classic red grape, Touriga-Nacional, have helped put this region on alert to the wine lovers and sommeliers of the world.

Both traditional and modern wine making techniques exist in the DAO, thus making the region the perfect alternative for style and value.

Philip S. Kampe

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