Caves São João, Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva, 2015
Style/ Colour Red
Grape varieties 100% Touriga Nacional
The producer Established in 1920 by the Costa family, for many years Bairrada-based Caves São João was a negociant business. Over the years, the family developed enduring relationships with key growers in Bairrada and neighbouring Dão. Blending and bottling the cream of the crop, second generation (Alberto and Luís Costa) launched the iconic Porta dos Cavaleiros Dão label in 1963. For over 20 years, it was among Portugal’s biggest brands and became synonymous with the region’s elegant style. Porta dos Cavaleiros lays claim to being the Portugal’s first wine bottled in magnum, the first to state the vintage on the cork and the first to have the cork-derived label, which persists to this day, along with the fetching vintage stencil. Unoaked, the original wines – a blend of different varieties - were whole bunch fermented and released after five years’ ageing. They age brilliantly (I showed Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva Seleccionada 1975 at Decanter’s Iberian Fine Wine Encounter last year); you can pick up eye-popping museum releases at the cellar door. In 2005, the family introduced a contemporary take on a classic label. It may be made from 100% Touriga Nacional and aged in French oak, but it retains Porta dos Cavaleiros’ signature elegance.
The vineyard/winemaking Made from 100% Touriga Nacional, sourced from a single grower parcel located in Penalva do Castelo, in the north of the Dão. The grapes were de-stemmed and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks over a two week period, with several pump-overs. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in second use 450l French oak barrels for around eight months. It was then aged for three years in traditional epoxy-coated concrete tanks and bottled in August 2020.
Tasting notes Youthfully bright, still pink at the rim, this is a coolly elegant Dão red with a long life ahead. It is also a classic expression of Touriga Nacional, with its violet-scented nose and palate, well-defined plum, sour black cherry and silky blueberry. Textured but fine, sooty, mineral tannins and fresh acidity bring length and poise.
Food Pairing Pair with roast & grilled meats such as lamb with rosemary, or with grilled octopus
Serving recommendations It is drinking well now, but will age for a decade or more. 2021-2031+
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