Antonio Madeira Dao Tinto 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Despite its enormous potential, central Portugal’s Dão is a region that remains out of the limelight while slowly losing its heritage of old vines and native grape varieties. Antonio, who is French of Portuguese descent, has his roots in the foothills of the Serra da Estrela in Dão and since 2010 has been combing this sub-region looking for that old heritage or, as he calls it, the Grands Crus of the Dão Highlands. He found a series of old vineyards that are distinctive because of the authenticity of their grape varieties along with the characteristics and nuances of their granite soils and sun exposures. It is in these highlands that Antonio believes lies the heart of Dão.
He’s farming organically and working with too many grape varieties to name. All of his wines are field blends and cofermented. He believes that if they were planted that way, it was for a reason. In the cellar, he’s as natural as it gets, limiting additives to a minimum.
Producing some of the country’s most dignified and mineral-driven red wines, Dão is positioned in north central Portugal where granite mountains surround and shelter the region from any Atlantic maritime influence. Summers are long and warm; winters see abundant rainfall.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.