2010 Casa de Mouraz Dão Red Blend
Dão DOC, Portugal
If I had any doubt before drinking this bottle that Portugal is producing some of the best, if not the best, red wine values in the world today, that doubt is all but gone. I was introduced to dry red wines from Portugal during my first Wine and Spirits Education Trust course several years ago. I was blown away by several sub-$10 bottles I tasted blind alongside much more expensive bottles from Spain and the US. The Portuguese reds fared particularly well, beating out many other bottles four or five times their price. I'm still a huge fan to this day and this bottle from Casa de Mouraz is a perfect example of why dry Portuguese reds offer incredible value.
Casa de Mouraz was founded in 2000 by Antonio Lopes Ribeiro and was the first Dão producer to work organically and biodynamically. Antonia moved back to his birthplace after living in Lisbon for many years and farms several parcels with different soils, ranging in altitude from 140 to 400 meters. The property was certified organic in 1996 and some biodynamic practices were incorporated in 2006. A wide variety of indigenous grapes are grown, including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Baga, Agua-Santa for red wine and Malvasia-Fina, Bical, Cereal, Encruzado, and Alvarinho for the whites.
This bottle is delicious on all fronts and as mentioned, is made with certified organic grapes. It also benefitted from 10-15 minutes in the glass. A deep ruby in color with a pretty light rim. My first thought on the nose: rich and lively. The nose is a hearty, well-integrated medley of soft blackberries and cherries (cassis too?), baking spices, black pepper, and a distinct smoky/bacon-y component as well. The cassis/violet component gives the nose a welcome lift and added brightness that reminds me of high-altitude Malbec from Argentina and some Grenache-based reds from Priorat in Spain. The nose was incredibly alluring; I couldn't stop shoving my nose back into the glass.
On the palate, the wine is well-structured and full bodied with medium to medium plus acidity. The flavors are abundant but well-balanced. There is something distinct and incredibly delicious about the backbone of minerality and again harkens back to a recent bottle from Priorat I reviewed recently. A healthy does of tannins leads to a well-balanced and incredibly long finish. This is some immaculate juice. Damn, I love, love, love this wine.
So, let's review. Independent producer, committed organic and biodynamic practices, delicious wine... What more do you want folks? There are too many shitty $14 bottles of wine in the world to not get your hands on this immediately.