Masterclass: Portugal's Dao with Quinta dos Roques
Presented by Luis Lourenco
The Oxford Wine Company, 6 Turl Street, Oxford, OX1 3DQ
Masterclass: Portugal's Dão with Quinta dos Roques
This tasting was hosted by Luís Lourenço of Quinta dos Roques, a family-run winery in the Dão region of Portugal, and the leading - small - estate in the Dão revolution. At around 450m above sea level, Quinta dos Roques lies in the Dão heartland, just outside Abrunhosa do Mato.
Luís and Luisa Lourenço lead this family estate, producing a wide array of meticulously assembled wines. The Touriga Nacional here is often cited as Portugal's finest, while Quinta dos Roques' Encruzado is regularly rated as one of the country's leading dry white wines.
The first wine we tasted was the Quinta das Maias Gouveio 2016. This was a wonderfully fresh and characterful wine made from indigenous white grape varieties. It was lively in the glass, with citrus notes and a zesty finish. All Luís' wines are organically made, with all the grapes being harvested by hand.
We moved on to the Quinta dos Roques Encruzado 2016 - this was a really special white wine. Luís explained that half the blend ferments in barrell and the other in stainless steel with some lees stirring to add texture and balance to the wine. The grape was Encruzado, planted on some of the best plots of land on the estate. It was a rich but well balanced wine with salted caramel aromas and baked apple on the palate. A very serious white wine from Dão.
The first red to taste was the Quinta do Correiro Tinto 2015. This was described as his 'entry level red' - a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro. This wine was delicious! It had a cherry and raspberry nose with soft tannins, and would make a great BBQ red.
Our second red of the night was the Quinta dos Roques Tinto 2015. The step up in quality was very noticeable in this wine. With some oak aging on the Touriga, this wine offered a lot of depth of flavour with a soft mouthfeel and a finish to die for.
The next wine was referred to as a field blend - the Quinta dos Roques Reserva Tinto 2015. A single vineyard called the Pessegueiro gives us this complex and refined Dão red. Touriga Nacional & Tinta Roriz are grown together but ripen at different times making it very difficult to harvest.
Last but most definitely not least was the Quinta dos Roques, Touriga Nacional 2015. 100% Touriga, fermented in oak with some further oak aging. This was a complex wine with deep red fruit flavour and the potential to age for up to 25 years. This wine was a real show stopper and greatly impressed the room.