Caves Sao Joao Porta dos Cavaleiros Branco 1985
Established in 1920, Caves São João became a dominant force in Portuguese winemaking in the mid-20th century with their wines Porta dos Cavaleiros from the Dão and Bairrada’s Frei João. Given the shifting trends in consumer preferences, Bairrada and Dão fell to obscurity in the 1990s when critical influence drove the demand for bigger, extracted, warmer climate wines. But history tends to repeat itself and after 20 years of hibernation savvy consumers and food-conscious sommeliers are again looking for finesse and freshness and heading back to Bairrada and Dão. In 2013, the Costa family owners of the estate, decided to open their cellars and offer the old vintages in stock, ranging from 1959 to 2000. Wines that when young had a vegetal character, pronounced tannins and high acidity aged gracefully when kept in perfect condition at the winery for 20-40 years and are now pristine examples of mature wines with profound finesse and irreplaceable complexity. Caves S. João, with 1 million bottles in stock, as to be one of the few wineries in the world offering library with vintages going back to the late 1950’s.
What makes Caves São João unique? Since this winery was established in 1920, it became a dominant force in Portuguese winemaking in the mid-20th century. This winery has such a large range in vintages from 1959 to 2000 and these wines are kept in perfect condition.
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 white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white 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. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. 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.