Harvest at Portuguese DÃO region, and also at Quinta da Boavista is finished.
09 is a fantastic year with incredible freshness, something only possible to find in temperate regions. The wines are very concentrated (1,5 Ton / ha), very pure, with nice violet colors.
These year I harvest for the first time a sixty years full blend vineyard and 4000 bottles will be produced and commercialized two years later.
I understand the pedagogical rule of mono-varietals wine, but nothing better than a real blend, and much better, if it is a coo-fermented of a very Old Portuguese full blend vineyard. That’s what gives a real wine; concentrated, full of complexity, full bodied, in the opposite of the mono varietals wines, almost those produced with the most one-dimensional grapes varieties, very defined, very recognizable, the opposite of what a great wine is.
What about Jaen? Did you hear something about? And about the ways of Santiago’
And about Mencia? May be, Jaen/Mencia is the most complex grape variety of the old world, and also the grape variety after Pinot, that gives more Terroir character to the wines, but also very unknown because of there specific geographical implantation; Galicia and north of Portugal (Dão).
Undisputedly, Dao’s star grape is Touriga Nacional. Recent DNA research confirms that Touriga originated in Dao, and didn’t move to Douro until the 19th century. Because of this, Touriga has its widest range of clonal diversity and varietal character in Dao. Ripening under cooler conditions, it takes on broader florals (violets, balsamic, bergamont and orange blossom are common descriptives), a finer structure and retains more natural acidity than elsewhere in Portugal. The fact that it consistently ripens at 12-13% alcohol testifies to its natural fit with Dao soils and weather.
Jaen another interloper, Jaen (pronounced Shy-an or Hay-en), is none other than northwest Spain’s Mencia grape which grows along the pilgrim’s trail to Santiago de Campostela. In hotter parts of Dao, Jaen is the first to ripen and lower in acidity. Traditionally it provided alcohol and enhanced floral aromas, while softening tarter grapes in blends. Jaen ripens too fast in southern Dao, so no color or structure, it was not respected primarily because it had been put in the wrong places and not treated as a prime grape.
In Northern Dao’s cooler conditions, Jaen harvests two weeks later, producing darker color, firmer tannins and more pronounced florals. It works as a standalone there. Joao Tavares de Pina of Terras de Tavares and Torre de Tavares wants his Jaen to “have concentration without density” believing it needs ‘freshness, not high acidity.” The extended ripening time around Penalva delivers ripe tannins without losing delicate aromas, all at low alcohol levels. His young Jaen was highly floral, full of violet, cinnamon, black cherry and plum fruits with fleshy textures, bright acidity and finely powered tannins. I tasted other compelling Jaen at Lagar de Darei, and Quinta de Lemos, a smart rose at Quinta das Marias, and an intriguingly complex, velvety 1997 at Quinta das Maias.
By Paul White, Decanter