While in Portugal, I had the chance to taste Quinta de Darei’s wines at Sala Ogival with Jose Cunha, the nephew of the winery owner. Bought in 1997 after 2 decades of abandonment, the current owners are intent in reviving old traditions and to become, what they hope, is a prestigious Dão wine producer. After restoring and utilizing old stone lagars, the current wines abide by century old traditions of being foot trodden and contain native Dão grape varietals such as: Alforcheiro, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Jaen for reds, and Encruzado, Bical and Arinto in the white wine production. Small productions and a desire to make award winning wines has led to the creation of two wines with another expected to be launched this year.
The property is also in the midst of a wine tourism project that hopes to attract more visitors to the region. 150ha of land that border a man made reservoir created by the Fagilde Dam of the river Dão, bodes well for any traveler who wants to see the region and escape from Portugal two main cities of Porto and Lisbon. Aside from incredible scenery, there is also a rural house available for rental which incorporates winery visits to Casa de Darei.
Although Casa de Darei”s website is not very user friendly as of yet, still needing to be translated into English, it does provide information about visiting their cellar to experience both the art of winemaking and the opportunity to taste their wines.
As for their three wines, I was very impressed with all of them, showing big explosive aromas that seemed to leap from the glass. From my perspective, they have a nice start to what could be a very promising future.
Address: Quinta de Darei, 3530 – Mangualde
Telephone: (+351) 232 613 200
Fax: (+351) 252 640 989
Webpage: www.casadedarei.pt (Warning Flash Only)
Hectares of Vines: 11ha
Grape Varieties Grown: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Encruzado, Bical, Arinto
Enologist: Pedro Pareira
Wines Elaborated:Lagar de Darei Vinho Tinto, Lagar de Darei Vinho Branco
Catavino Tasting Notes
Lagar de Darei 2003
Red wine produced by Casa de Darei in Dão, Portugal
Note: Deep intense color with a rich, chocolate, grape and cherry nose. Big and bold and in need of an hour or so before it really opens up. Foot crushed grapes in lagar. Big wine with firm tannins, and thick flavors. Chocolate, cherry, black pepper, some wood notes. Intense overall and the nose is the first to show itself and needs time to fully open on the palate. (copied from audio recording)
(Tasted on August 13, 2007)
Lagar De Darei 2003
White wine produced by Casa de Darei in Dão, Portugal
Note: Nice golden color with a flowery/mineral nose. Very dry with a medium acidity and light body overall. Oak is note a major factor as far as flavor but gives some body and a light creaminess. Tropical flavors with some white flowers. (copied from audio recording)
(Tasted on August 13, 2007)