Quinta dos Roques, Vinho Tinto, DA Dao, Portugal, 2013
Dao is a land-locked mountainous region, 80 km + inland from the Atlantic coast. It can be viewed as a basin pretty much encircled by sheltering mountains. Altitude ranges from 200-1000m, but most vineyard lies at 400-700m, with 70kha in 500k plots – so a lot of little ones.
The encircling mountains signficantly affect the climate, protecting from the excesses of the West Atlantic wet and central Iberian heat. Summer heat and winter cold are tempered by the proximity to the Ocean. It rains, mostly in winter, with ripening and harvest periods almost completely dry. Altitude and clear summer night skies help retain acidity and slow ripening, so there is potential for fresh interesting wines.
The main red varieties are jaen (aka mencia), touriga nacional, tinta roriz (aka tempranillo), touriga franca, tinta cao, cabernet sauvignon at < 40%; whites include encruzado, cercial, malvasia and verdelho, also semillon at < 40%.
Reds represent about 80% production, which can give some of Portugal’s best dry wines; they have sharper acidity, a more floral dimension than those of the Douro, and are food friendly.
This wine: a blend of touriga nacional, jaen (aka mencia in both Portugal and Spain), alfrocheiro; has seen oak; coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, Ann et Vin, £13.50 (07/17)
Consumer tasting note: a nose of red berries, stewed red plum, a little smoky and waxy with spicy oaky hints; medium bodied with seemingly fresh acidity, with red berry flavours tinged with a touch of black berry. A medium-long length. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of red currant, red cherry, stewed red plum, touch of smoked meat, bees-wax, fleeting hint of red liquorice, touch of blackberry, slight floral peony-like lift, warm leaf humus, touch of spicy toasty oak.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium intensity, with flavours of red cherry, red currant, touch of black berry, hint of oak. A medium (+) length with a clean waxy-red berried finish.
Quality: good, a good balance of acidity and tannin with alcohol, suiting the flavour intensity; modest intensity and concentration, developing, with better than moderate complexity from well-integrated oak and time in bottle, with smoky and oaky nuances, with a meaty, earthy and waxy dimension, respectively. Finishes medium-long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – the structure is fine, but all indicators are a bit lightweight, except perhaps complexity on the nose, however it will keep for a year or two.