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MWG January 8th tasting: A pair of Dão reds

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Dão 2011, Reserva, Quinta da Pellada/Àlvaro Castro ($28.25, 11902106)
A blend of Alfrocheiro (65%) and Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (35%) from vines between 25 and 65 years old. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and minimal intervention in large concrete and Ganimede stainless steel tanks. Matured in fifth-fill, 400-litre French oak barrels. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Mainly plum with hints of licorice, slate and white pepper and a surprising whiff of spruce beer. Fruit-dense yet remarkably fresh in the mouth. Subliminally structured. Smoky minerals add ballast and linger well into the long finish. Such a beautifully balanced, pure and drinkable wine. Hugely enjoyable if primary now; potentially sublime after another four or five years in the bottle. (Buy again? Imperatively.)

Dão 2011, Duque de Viseu, Quinta dos Carvalhais ($14.95, 00546309)
Quinta dos Carvalhais is the Dão arm of Portugese giant Sogrape. Contrary to what claims, this is a blend of Alfrocheiro (28%), Touriga Nacional (28%), Jaen (20%) and Tinta Roriz (18%). The grape varieties are vinified separately. The grapes are destemmed and gently crushed, then gravity-transferred to temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for six days’ fermentation and maceration. The free-run juice is transferred to stainless steel tanks, the skins to a pneumatic press, with the press juice being added to the free-run juice for malolactic fermentation. After blending, a fraction of the wine is matured for 12 months in used French oak barrels while the remainder ages in stainless steel tanks “regularly undergoing clarification” (whatever that means) and micro-oxygenation. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Charton Hobbs.
Dark fruit, savoury spices and notes of latex glove and rose. Smooth and supple with good acidity and yielding tannins. The ripe-sweet fruit is darkened by earthy minerals. There’s pleasing surface aplenty but little depth. Spices faintly overtone the clean if somewhat abrupt finish. Not memorable but not bad for a $15 industrially produced wine. (Buy again? If more interesting options aren’t available, sure.)

(Flight: 7/8)

Written by carswell

February 8, 2015 at 14:12

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