Regions and Appellations Portugal Dao

Dao Wine

Dão is one of Portugal's most prominent wine regions, located just south of the famous Douro Valley. It has suffered from a bad reputation in the past but international wine media attention and improvements in production (and marketing) have helped the region to start shining. The top Dão wines are now some of the most highly rated in Europe, winning consistent praise on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Dão viticultural region is in the north of the country. It takes its name from the Dão river, along which the majority of the region's vineyards are located. The Dão is a tributary of the larger Mondego (Portugal's longest river) and several other rivers also flow through the region. However, only the Dão is significant enough to have the local DOC named after it – mostly due to the tough, crystalline granite that the river has carved its path through for many millennia.

Roses in the vineyards keep watch for mildew
©Wines of Portugal

To the north, south and east of the Dão Valley are the granite mountains of eastern Beiras. These are the same peaks which separate Beira Litoral (coastal Beira) from Beira Interior (inland Beira), and the Dão and Douro rivers. As a result of this protected position, the climate along the Dão is relatively mild, stable and consistent between vineyard sites. Naturally, this creates a homogenization of the region's terroir; whether this is a bad or good thing is open to debate.

The majority of Dão's quality vineyards are situated at altitudes between 500-1500ft (150–450m) above sea level. This elevation raises the vines out of the valley's shadows and towards all-important sunshine, allowing them to maximize their photosynthesis time during the day. It also increases diurnal temperature variation, helping the grapes cool down at night, which they must do to retain the acids so desirable in wine.

The biggest name in Dão wine production is Sogrape, the first wine company off the mark after Dão's restrictive wine laws were lifted at the time of the 1989 vintage. Sogrape also happens to be the largest Portuguese wine producer, having firmly established itself in the second half of the 20th century through the remarkable success of its Mateus rosé wine. The company invested heavily in the Dão area, most obviously at the Quinta dos Carvalhais (The Oaks Estate), which now processes several million liters of wine each vintage. The quinta ('farm' or 'estate') has only a modest acreage under vine and much of its wine is made from grapes bought in from the surrounding area, much like the old system created under the Salazar regime.

Arguably, the finest red wines from Dão today are deep reds made from Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, two of the key grapes used to make port wines. Jaen and Alfrocheiro Preto are two other common red wine grapes here, along with large quantities of lesser grapes such as the memorably entitled Bastardo and the Baga that dominates plantings in Bairrada to the west. White wines are also produced in Dão, with the finest examples based on Encruzado, the region's most widely planted light-skinned grape variety.

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Most Popular Dao Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Alvaro Castro 'DAC' Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 2,796th 89 $16
Quinta de Cabriz 'Cabriz' Colheita Seleccionada Tinto, Dao, Portugal Alfrocheiro Preto - Tinta Roriz - Touriga 3,675th 87 $9
Alvaro Castro Tinto, Dao, Portugal Alfrocheiro Preto - Tinta Roriz - Touriga 4,285th 89 $11
Pedra Cancela Selecao do Enologo Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 7,046th 88 $11
Giesta Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 8,074th $16
Vinha Maria Premium, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 9,069th 87 $9
Grao Vasco Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 10,682nd 86 $9
Quinta da Pellada, Dao, Portugal Tinta Roriz (Aragonez) - Touriga 12,107th 91 $53
Gota Wines Private Selection 'Prunus' Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 12,429th 88 $11
Quinta de Saes Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 15,478th 87 $15
Bergamota Private Selection Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 16,150th 89 $15
Quinta de Cabriz Reserva, Dao, Portugal Alfrocheiro Preto - Tinta Roriz - Touriga 16,738th 89 $15
Dao Sul Casa de Santar, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 17,914th 88 $9
Dao Sul Casa de Santar Reserva, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 18,143rd 90 $17
Caves Velhas 'Catedral' Reserva, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 18,393rd 88 $9
Caves Sao Joao 'Porta dos Cavaleiros' Reserva Tinto, Dao, Portugal Touriga Nacional 19,570th 87 $27
Quinta dos Carvalhais Duque de Viseu, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 20,311th 87 $13
Niepoort Rotulo Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 21,755th 88 $12
Quinta da Pellada Carrocel, Dao, Portugal Touriga Nacional 21,933rd 91 $80
Casa de Mouraz Tinto, Dao, Portugal Alfrocheiro Preto - Tinta Roriz - Touriga 22,269th 89 $16
Magnum Carlos Lucas Ribeiro Santo Encruzado, Dao, Portugal Encruzado 22,641st 89 $12
Vinhos Borges Meia Encosta, Dao, Portugal Alfrocheiro Preto - Tinta Roriz - Touriga 22,860th 85 $5
Quinta de Lemos Dona Santana, Dao, Portugal Tinta Roriz (Aragonez) - Touriga 24,226th 89 $19
Caves Sao Joao 'Porta dos Cavaleiros' Tinto, Dao, Portugal Touriga Nacional 26,900th 85 $17
UDACA Colheita Tinto, Dao, Portugal Portuguese Red Blend 27,693rd 86 $13
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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