Quinta de Saes Reserva Encruzado
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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 is a classic expression of the indigenous Dao varietal Encruzado. Mineral driven, high toned acidity and impressive precision on the palate make this very reminiscent of Chablis, with terrific aging potential.
2020 91WA ; 2017 90WA; 2016 90WA, 2014 90WA
100% Encruzado. Sustainably farmed vines, averaging 20 years old, planted to granite and sand at 660 m (2,165 ft) elevation.
Quinta de Saes Encruzado is a perfect pair for richer seafood dishes, particularly shellfish and white-fleshed fish. Its minerality makes it a great pair for clams and oysters.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Natural yeast fermentation in stainless steel; racked to stainless for 3 months of battonage. Aged in stainless for an additional 9 months and racked to bottle.
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.
Pale, almost colorless with green tints. On the nose, citrus and green apple notes are overlaid with wet stone, salt and white flowers. On the palate, weighty but balanced, with precise cut to the acidity and mineral notes. Juicy, generous citrus and stone fruit give way to an intensely mineral finish.
2.9 lbs (1.3kg)