A Dão secret

Clandestino is the name of a somewhat secretive wine being made in the Dão region, with an unusual bottle design on smoked glass adding to the mystery.

The image of the crossing roads comes in fact from the name of the producer, Caminhos Cruzados, who also make the excellent “Titular” range of Dão varietals, one of my favourites being made from the local grape Jaen, which I featured here (click here) back in 2016.

This is a producer known for making authentic Dão wines and championing local varieties, so this wine is something of a departure.

The back label explains in both Portuguese and English how the wine is made from two different grape varieties of distant origin; the clandestine connection being that it was not so long ago when it was illegal for wine producers to use grapes not certified in their region. Today the rules are more relaxed and there is a list of recommended grape varieties for each region that producers are encouraged to use.

With no idea as to what I was tasting, I paid €11.45 for a bottle at Apolónia and discovered a fruity, medium-to-full bodied un-oaked red. Spicy notes on the nose hint at Syrah, but I could not place the other grape which, according to the producer, adds subtle notes of cherry and black chocolate.

After a little digging by way of a chat with the distributor, it transpires to be a blend of Syrah and Merlot, fermented and aged in stainless steel for two years before bottling.

With a nice freshness and smooth tannins, this is an elegant and easy drinking wine, ideal for enjoying with grilled meats.