Once hailed as the “Burgundy of the South,” the northern end of the winemaking region ‘Dão’ located in the central corridor of Portugal, is well-renowned for the production of wines given to subtlety, finesse, and mineral-laden linearity, paired with an emphasis on site-specific transparency. The longtime Burgundian comparison is no surprise here. For winemaker João Tavares de Pina of the “Quinta da Boavista” estate, his family’s roots are well-planted squarely within this tradition. Living in his family’s 18th century home in their historic stead of Penalva do Castelo, the seeds of low-intervention fine-winemaking with an eye toward cultivating a polyculture around the vines are in evidence throughout their acreage. The vineyards are rimmed with oak tree and eucalyptus groves and wear thick and generous cover crop: chamomile flowering beside clover and rows of lavender, legumes like hard-seeded serradella being particularly beneficial in the cultivation of a robust microbial life within these granitic & clay soils. The wines of Quinta da Boavista are soulful and honest renditions of indigenous grapes like Jaen, Touriga Nacional, and Pinheira, with the silken texture of not Burgundy but… well, the Dão.
95% Jaen (aka Mencia!) and 5% Tinta Pinheira. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in whole clusters with wild yeasts in stainless steel. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2. Another producer from this month's roundup taking a typically overly-extracted, overly-processed red grape (Mencia) and transforming it into something delicate, highlighting the grape's fruit and acidity. Lipsmacking raspberries and florally aromatic, delightful with a chill.