“Terras do Dão” is synonymous with ‘Lands of Wine’ and people say, that you can even smell the roses in Beira Alta wine. The Beiras Region crosses Portugal from side to side, from the Atlantic to the border with Spain; to the North by the Minho and the Douro river and to the south by the Alto Alentejo and Ribatejo, counting on five designations of origin.
In 2011, the appellation called ‘Terras da Beira‘ was created, containing three designated regions: Dão, Bairrada and Beira Interior.
Dão white wines are rather fruity while reds are full-bodied with a velvety taste. In this plain region, which is beautifully surrounded by mountains that protect the vines from the winds, there are properties many centuries old, cellars, agricultural cooperatives and associations devoted to the production and tasting of wine.
This is also the case of Quinta do Cabriz in Carregal do Sal, one of the country’s leading wine producers. Several times awarded, their white, red and sparkling wines (with Touriga Nacional rosé) ensure a good relationship between quality and price. The exception to low price is its ‘vino de topo‘, the Cabriz Four C, produced with 4 Portuguese strains of great quality. Another major wine-producing property in this area is located on the slopes of the river Dão. The Casa de Santar has been producing prestigious wines for over 300 years.
White wines from Beiras are fresh and fruity; red wines are full-bodied with an intense colour and show great ageing potential.
In the list of wine producers, there is also space for the production of organic wines. For instance, Casa Mouraz in Tondela is very devoted to red, white and rosé wines of organic production.
In 2003/2004, another wine type (or another concept of wine) emerged: Kosher wine. The Terras de Belmonte is a wine produced according to Jewish rules in Belmonte, where in the past a large Jewish community had established itself. The big difference of this wine is the production process itself, where only Jews can intervene without the use of yeast and additional products of animal origin.
Our recommendation today comes from Bairrada. It is a rosé partially aged in oak, a very aromatic wine with balanced acidity and structure: The Filipa Pato 3B. Its producer and oenologist, Filipa Pato, does not accept the current designation of origin, and simply prefers to call her product “traditional method” while waiting to get her own appellation, something similar to the history of Cava in Catalonia.
Julia Kemper Tinto Bio 2009: A red wine from Dao DO of Julia Kemper cellar of vintage 2009.
Quinta de Cabriz Selected Harvest 2013: A wine red with the Dao DO of 2013 and 13º of alcohol strength.
Photo: Guy Moll