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Quinta do Perdigão, JaenDão, Portugal 2013 ()

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Quinta do Perdigão, Jaen Dão, Portugal 2013 ()

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Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

In recent years, Portugal’s Douro Valley has put the rest of wine-producing Europe on notice, having stolen the spotlight with its staggering trove of affordable, high-quality wines outside of Port’s fortified realm. These sumptuous Bordeaux-style reds and exotically layered whites have won over aficionados and critics alike, but right now, our focus has been pulled into the Douro’s equally impressive neighboring valley. 


Just 50 miles south, the remote Dão lies on a wild, granite plateau and produces a dazzling lineup of wines that provides witness and testimony to the transformative power of this ancient land. Though both regions share many of the same grape varieties, the Dão often strikes a stark stylistic contrast to those of the Douro. Here, a near-perfect configuration of terrain, soil, and climate grants its ability to produce superbly fresh and aromatic wines pronounced with an articulate Burgundian accent. Today’s bottle-aged gem, made entirely from Jaen (which you know/love as Mencía in Spain’s Ribeira Sacra and Bierzo), provides such a dazzling and unique expression that, in a blind tasting, I pegged it for a hybrid of Puglia’s darkly accented Salice Salentino and the Jura’s snappy, fragrant Trousseau! Yes, I was wrong, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled: At $28, this hypnotic, seven-year-old red is a stimulating step off an already exotic path.



Stunningly beautiful and cradled in three surrounding granite mountain ranges, the Dão enjoys a “goldilocks” climate: it is sheltered from the blistering heat of the country’s interior and blocked from the cold, Atlantic breezes. Its warm, dry summers help the grapes achieve optimal ripeness while the cool, misty nights lock in freshness and acidity. The normally extended growing season ensures finished wines with long chains of fully developed aromatics and deeply concentrated flavor. With most vineyard sites sitting at high elevations (up to 1600 feet) in rugged soils of decomposing granite and schist, the wines here are driven by a firm core of minerality, greatly benefiting their ability to age. Long gone are the days where growers were required to hand over all grapes to co-ops that produced insipid reds dried-out whites: Today’s Dão is a labyrinth of micro-sized growers networking together, seeking modern winemaking to produce a growing number of juicier, friendlier wines. 


The rigors of organic winegrowing and natural winemaking are the lifeblood of this Dão revival, breathing new life into a profound, ancestral culture. A leading proponent of this movement is Quinta do Perdigão, a family-run estate in Silgueiros, established by Jose Perdigão and Vanessa Chrystie in 1997. Their estate is a relatively large one for the Dão, totaling 17 acres (which is tiny) and sits at 1200 feet directly above the Dão river. All the work done here is a symphony of knowledge, care, creative passion, and imagination, resulting in wines of extreme balance, elegance, and personality. The estate is planted to Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, Alfrocheiro, and Jaen for rosé and reds and Encruzado for their one white. At harvest, all fruit is hand-picked and fermented in stainless steel tanks (designed by architect José) decorated with a picture (Vanessa is a visual artist) of the fermentation process occurring inside. Post fermentation, the reds go into neutral oak barrels for extended aging. 


Today’s 2013 Quinta do Perdigão Jaen is only the third time José and Vanessa have bottled this wine. It’s from their original parcel planted in the late 1990s that’s finally hitting sufficient vine age for seriously compelling Jaen. Once it completed fermentation, 85% of this wine spent one year in neutral French oak barrels from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Once bottled, the wine was held for an extended five-year term before release. After a solid two hours in a decanter, served at 60 degrees in Bordeaux stems, the wine shows a deep ruby red, running brighter toward the rim. An ascending, complex bouquet features pointed notes of dried tea, ripe blackberries, dark chocolate, pine forest, green herbs, and charred tobacco. The palate is generous and medium-bodied, holding concentrated flavors of black cherry, creamy chocolate, ripe fig, star anise, and pipe smoke. A lively framework of silky dry tannins and crunchy acidity binds together a rustic yet restrained concoction of flavor with a brooding mineral character. With over seven years of integration, this remarkably vibrant wine stands poised to transport you to a land uniquely beautiful, wild, and free. Enjoy!




Quinta do Perdigão, Jaen Dão, Portugal 2013 - SommSelect

  • CountryPortugal
  • RegionDão
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendJaen (Mencía)
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakNeutral French Barrels
  • Service Temp.60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stems
  • DrinkNow-2023
  • DecantingTwo Hours
  • PairingPortuguese Beef Stew

  • CountryPortugal
  • RegionDão
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendJaen (Mencía)
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakNeutral French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2023
  • DecantingTwo Hours
  • PairingPortuguese Beef Stew