Borges Wines is one of the major players within the Portuguese wine spectrum, a company that was founded in the Douro back in 1884 as a Port producer.
One of the best-known products that I remember from many years ago was Brandy Borges, a cheap brandy that used to sit alongside the likes of Macieira on the shelves of workmen’s cafés. But they have always produced quality Port and, over the years, the company expanded by acquiring more quintas in the Douro, Minho and Dão, and launching some of the biggest brands in Portuguese wine such as Gatão Vinho Verde and Dão Meia Encosta.
I had all but forgotten about the Borges brand itself until I noticed some very good new wines start to appear on restaurant wine lists recently. They produce an excellent Alvarinho white under the Borges label, a wine that usually sells in restaurants at around €25 and compares very favourably with the big-name Alvarinhos.
I have yet to see it in any shops but would expect to pay around €9 or €10 – and would happily do so.
What I did find, new in at Apolónia last week, is this Dão Reserva 2015. I had seen it on a restaurant wine list priced at €60 so was not surprised to see it on the shelf at €24.95 and, being a diehard Dão fan, could not resist giving it a try.
This wine is still quite young and needs to be decanted and left to breathe for a couple of hours to release the many subtle aromas. When first opened, there was little happening on the nose but, as it opened up, there were seductive notes of mint, eucalyptus and vanilla playing with hints of dark berry fruits. In the mouth, the wine is on the lighter side of full bodied, elegant and well-structured, with good acidity and a lovely fresh/dry finish.
Would I pay nearly €25 to drink another bottle or €60 in a restaurant? The answer is no, not for now. But with a few years of careful cellar-ageing, this has the potential to become one of the great Dão reds.
By Patrick Stuart