The Dåo winemaking region, located just south of the famed Douro Valley in Portugal, produces red wines that are lighter in style than those from Douro. The best reds from Dåo are made from grape varietals such as Alfrocheiro, Jaen (known as Mencia in Spain), Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz. In addition, white wines are made from Encruzado grapes.
Dåo is a mountainous region with a relatively mild and consistent climate. The primary factors accounting for the temperate climate include the granite mountains of Beiras that rise up to the north, south and east. This mountainous terrain is what helps to protect the region’s vineyards from extreme variations in temperature and climate.
The best vineyards in Dåo are located along the Mondego and Dåo Rivers. The Dåo, for which the region is named, is actually a tributary of the Mondego, which is Portugal’s longest river.
The best wines from Dåo are grown at higher elevations, typically 150 to 450 meters above sea level. This higher elevation enables grapes to avoid the shadows of the river valleys and receive more sunshine year round.
Of the grape varietals from Dåo, perhaps the best known is Touriga Nacional, which can also be used to make port wines. Dåo Touriga Nacional results in full-bodied reds, often with intense, deep fruit flavors. Jaen is also popular and results in full-bodied reds with notes of raspberry and black cherry. Jaen is very similar to Mencia from the northwestern wine-growing regions of Spain. For medium-bodied reds, the grape of choice is Alfrocheiro.
Sogrape, which built its international reputation with Mateus rosé wine, is the largest wine producer in Portugal and is based in Dåo.
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