Just south of the Douro, lies the very traditional and well established region of Dao, probably the region for which Portuguese red wines were most famous 20 years ago.
It’s an area which is quite protected by mountains, and has a temperate climate. The vineyards are up on the slate and granite slopes, and benefit from this protected environment, with lots of sunshine to ripen the high tannin grapes, but cold nights to elongate the growing process.
Whilst the Douro has been forward thinking in terms of still wines, the Dao is making slower progress, with many cooperatives still reluctant to change their styles of winemaking. The majority of the wines are red, produced from the famous Port grapes, Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz. There are some exceptional wines, there are also some harsh, tannic, fruit-stripped wines, made in the old fashioned way, which do a real disservice to the Dao, which is an area of such great potential, with, at their best, wines of great concentration, spice, dark fruits.