dao red wine portugal
It was getting to the point that I thought I would never meet a 2003 Dão that I didn't like.

First, I fell in love with Casa de Santar. At under $15, I ended up buying out all LCBO stock.

Then, once those bottles were emptied, I turned to the Quinta de Cabriz in the adjoining Vintages carrel and it was just as good, if several dollars more.

I thought it was a hasty decision to venture over to Sogrape's cheapest of cheap, the 2003 Grão Vasco. For the $8 I paid, it was a-okay -- perfectly functional at a price few wines are.

I was on a roll and wasn't ready to stop. The 2003 Quinta dos Roques was next in my sights but before I located it in the racks, I came across a nouveauté in the Portuguese section, which is pictured at top (click on the image for product details).

It was the Catedral Dão 2003 and snapped it up without giving it a second thought, saving the more expensive Dão product for a special occasion. Quinta dos Roques would have to wait.

cathedral capivor 2003Funny though, there's no quinta mentioned on this Dão. Capivor is the bottler. Who knows what vineyards this stuff came from.

And those were the last thoughts that resounded in my head as of the sudden I realized that my luck had finally run out.

A caramel nose with roasted fruit is rather muted.

On the palate, there's cinnamon, tangy bramble berry and something else but it all quickly falls away into pithy, inelegant tannins in a long bitter fade.

A totally flat finish too. Maybe when the tannic punch is that green, harsh and astringent, it's considered as a blessing.

This is really unforgiving wine as there's not a single thing it seems to do well. There's about as much structure as a pile of logs in a do-it-yourself cabin builder kit. There's not many foods that will help it along either. Lighter food items only succeed in bringing out a strong burnt rubber aroma and mostly sourness. After I ruled out everything I had in my kitchen that contained salt, I decided mustardy salads managed the best.

I have to admit that on the next day this wine was much more integrated with forgiving tannins and, though overall it still is short of having any kind of an arc, it does helpfully illustrate the need to aerate harsh wines. That's the bright side.

This is one 2003 Dão I'm happy to see the back of.

Penafiel, Portugal. 12.5%.

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