Quinta Mendes Pereira might be the most exciting estate out of the 10 I’ve visited in Dão (see here for a summary of write-ups). It belongs to Brazil-born Raquel Mendes Pereira who moved to Portugal 10 years ago to take up her father José’s property. The wines are made by António Narciso. The first vintage was 2003 and the 40% of the wine is exported to Brazil.
We tasted a good 2010 Encruzado, more rich and apricotty than other Encruzados (it sees 20% oak and quite some bâtonnage) and definitely attractive. But the surprise of the day (and of the week) came from the 2010 Dão Rosado, one of the best rosé wines I’ve tasted in a long time, deep and concentrated with an explosion of intense cherry flavor on the palate. It is a more deep and structured rosé than what you might be used to, a ‘winter rosé’ or a more traditional Portuguese style known as palhete, mid-way towards a light red wine. The 2011 tasted from an improvised blend of tank- and oak-aged rosé, was just as outstanding. At 8€ retail it is a very impressive bottle of wine.
Raquel has four tiers of red wine: the entry-level is called Escolha da Produtora (Owner’s Selection) and we tasted the 2006, a hallmark of the patience that is applied here at Mendes Pereira where all wines are released with proper bottle age. The light red fruits aroma alludes to strawberries and the whole is soft and slightly evolutive, with an acidity that is softer, less rustic than in many Dãos. The 2007 Reserva blends, as often with António Narciso, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional for a tannic and acidic package in need of even more bottle age. On to the 2005 Reserva Touriga Nacional: a brooding wine with an extremely dark colour, this isn’t exactly gentle but it is genteel in the polish of tannins and the effortless concentration that continues for ages in the aftertaste.
And just when I thought we were done with excitement came a glass of 2004 Garrafeira, the estate’s special reserve from 50-year-old vines and curiously, not aged in new wood because there was none at the quinta back in 2005. For a wine of 8 years, this was just incredibly youthful and will continue to live on forever courtesy of the crisp mineral acids. The chewy concentration that the French call mâche is there aplenty and the sustained powerful finish is just superb. This incredible wine was a fitting tribute to the reputation of Dão as a region of fine, ageworthy red wines.
My trip to Portugal including flights, accommodation and wine tasting programme was sponsored by Quinta Wine Guide.