Quinta de Saes Rosé
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Dão is quickly becoming the most sought-after region for Portuguese winemakers to venture into; according to many, it’s one of the world’s most perfect microclimates: mountains protect it from continental heat to the east and Douro’s heat to north, and cool Atlantic breezes come inland to keep the overall temperatures more regulated, making for wines with bright acidity, ethereal aromatics, and compelling complexity. The DO’s granitic soils allow indigenous grapes to shine through in the wines, and provide firm, crunchy tannin against the bright fruit. Alvaro Castro has noted that “if God were to design a wine-growing region, what he would come up with would look a lot like the Dão.” There is no modern Dão without one of the region’s longtime legends, Alvaro Castro, whose estate encompasses two small properties (or “quintas”) known as Pellada and Saes. Alvaro makes wine here with his daughter Maria, carrying on a tradition of winemaking on this property that dates to the 16th century! Together, they have resisted the internationalization push of the ‘80s and ‘90s, instead doubling down on their slow-wine approach, using local varieties grown and crafted in the true Dāo “field blend” style.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This wine came from Alvaro and Maria’s experimentation with new grape varieties, most of which were unsuccessful. But always making lemonade out the situation, they kept the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard for exclusive use in this rosé, where it adds a fresh, spicy character.
Tinta Roriz and Jaen with 15% Baga and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sustainably farmed vines, averaging 15 to 45 years old, planted to mostly granite soils with clay and sand at 500m (1,640 ft) elevation.
Pairs beautifully with seafood, fresh grilled fish, white meats or you can just drink it as an aperitif.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Manually harvested. A short press (called “lagrima”) then a slow fermentation in stainless steel vats in order to preserve all the elegance and aromatic characteristics. The Jaen and Touriga are harvested first, and the Baga and Cabernet are added later to introduce complexity and transform the wine.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Quinta de Saes is located in the northern part of the Dao, in Northern Central Portugal. The plots for this vineyard are planted to granite at 500m (1640 ft) elevation. The Dao has a temperate continental climate, protected from the cold winds of the Atlantic by the Luso Mountains, from the warm winds of Extremadura to the west by the Sierra da Estrela, and from the arid heat of the Douro by the Serra do Caramulo. Average temperature in the growing season is 65F (18.5C). Rainfall is 26 inches per annum, with no irrigation.
Fragrant, mineral with tropical fruits notes. Smooth and fresh on the palate with elegant fruit and balanced acidity that provides a very long finish.