Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Dão, região demarcada since 1908, this dop in north central Portugal produces some of the country’s most elegant, mineral red wines (see map under portugal). Locked in on three sides by granite mountains and sheltered from the Atlantic, Dão benefits from long, warm summers and abundant winter rainfall. (which supports the pine forests whose resin notes can be detected in mature Dão wines, especially reds, but also those made from encruzado). Granitic sandy soils are well drained (sometimes too well drained—water stress can prejudice ripening in the lead-up to harvest). Vineyards are stocked with a wealth of indigenous grape varieties, including Portugal’s flagship red grape touriga nacional which is thought to have originated here. For much of the second half of the 20th century however, the wines rarely lived up to expectations, a consequence of heavy-handed government intervention since the 1940s.