This region produces some of the most elegant, mineral and complex wines in Portugal. It’s located in the heart of the country, approximately 70km south of the Douro valley. Its inland location would have you expect wines with a serious ripeness and concentration but the opposite is true. Due to the surrounding mountain ridges, the elevation of the vineyards and its granitic soils, the Dão region enjoys unique conditions for making wines with great natural acidity.
On the west side the Caramulo and Buçaco mountains protect it from the direct influence of the cool Atlantic winds, in the North the Serra de Montemuro forms the border with the Douro. Together with the Serra da Estrela in the South-East they form a kind of natural amphiteathre within which the vines of the Dão region thrive. The presence of the mountains and the rather high altitude of the vineyards – most in the region are at a minimum altitude of 400m and some are as high as 800m – avoids temperature extremes, allowing for a gradual ripeness of the grapes.
The foothills of the Estrela ridge seem to have the most ideal conditions for making wine and if one day a ‘grand cru’ status were to be grantedn the vineyards between the towns of Seia and Gouveia would be the likely candidates.
The Região Demarcada Dão celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008. This makes it one of the oldest regulated wine regions in Europe, but the high quality of its wines remained a well-kept secret for far too long.