The Dão area is situated in the Beira Alta region, at the Centre-North of Portugal. The geographical conditions are excellent to produce wines: the Caramulo, Montemuro, Buçaco and Estrela mountain ranges protect the vineyards from the influence of the winds.
The region is extremely mountainous; however, at the southern zone the altitude is lower. The 20000 hectares of vineyards are located mainly between the 400 and 700 meters of altitude and develop in shale soil (on the southern area of the region) or in low depth granitic soils.
The climate at Dão region suffers simultaneously the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and of the countryside and that’s the reason why the winters are cold and rainy while summers are hot and dry.
In the middle ages, the vineyard was essentially developed by the clergy, in particular by the Cister’s monks. It was the clergy that best knew the majority of the agricultural practices and, since it exerted a great influence over the people, it managed to occupy a lot of land with vineyard and therefore increase the viticulturist production.
However, it was only after the second half of the XIX century, after the mildew and phylloxera plagues that the region knew a great development. In 1908, the wine production area was delimited, becoming the second Portuguese demarcated region.
Dão is a region rich in producers, where each one detains small properties. For decades, the grapes where delivered to the cooperative cellars which took charge of producing the wine. The wine was afterwards, sold in retail, to large and medium-sized companies, which bottled it and sold it under their own brands.
As Portugal entered the EEC (1986), there was the need to change the production system and marketing of the Dão wines. A great number of companies from outside the region which used to acquire wine to the local cooperative cellars initiated their own explorations in the region and bought lands to grow vineyards. On the other hand, the cooperatives initiated the modernization process of the cellars and started marketing their own wine brands, while small producers of the region decided to start producing their own wines. Also the vineyards went through a restructuration process, with the application of new viticulture techniques and choice of grape varietals adequate to the region.
The vineyards are made of a great diversity of grape varietals, among which are the Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tinta Roriz (red varietals) and Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina and Verdelho (white varietals). The white wines are very aromatic, fruity and well-balanced. The red are full-bodied, aromatic and may gain high complexity after aging in bottle.