Natural essence of Dão

I seem to be on a bit of Dão run at the moment, the region that is still most undeservedly out of fashion but keeps surprising me with genuinely interesting wines.
Searching the shelves in Apolónia for something new last weekend, I found this unusual label and a quick read revealed that these are organic wines from “bio-dynamically” grown grapes.
Now, I’m not particularly fussed about the whole organic/bio movement. More often than not we are overcharged for fruit, veg or meat that actually tastes no better than good quality produce grown or reared with the help of a few friendly chemicals. Much the same can be said of wine, in my opinion, but when it is good and presents good value for money then it starts to make sense.
Such is the case with these wines from Casa de Mouraz, a small winery in the Dão region that exports most of its production. Their claim to fame is that the wines are featured on the wine list of Noma in Copenhagen, one of the best restaurants in the world.
I tried all three of their wines that are on sale at Apolónia: the white blend, Casa de Mouraz Branco, the varietal white Casa de Mouraz Encruzado and the red blend. The white blend was a bit of a disappointment; a nice enough wine but there is not enough going on to justify the €8.95 price tag.
But the slightly more expensive Encruzado (€10.95) is an excellent expression of this typical Dão grape variety which more often than not ends up being over-oaked for my taste when used as a varietal.
Here however, the producer has fermented the wine in stainless steel on the lees resulting in a full round flavour and a very complex notes with melon and pear aromas and good length of flavour.
But it was the red (€8.95) that most impressed me; a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and the little-known Água Santa grapes. Medium to full bodied with notes of cherries and strawberries on the nose and firm but well balanced tannins, this is an excellent value for money red from the Dão.
Promotional price at Apolónia supermarket (valid from Thursday April 10 to Wednesday April 16)
Casa de Mouraz TINTO: €7.95 (retail price €8.95)
Casa de Mouraz Encruzado: €8.95 (retail price €10.95)
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]