I often think about how wine is a form of art. This summer I encountered a very interesting person, who is not only a winemaker but an architect and lover of all things art. He believes that…
Wine is an art form, and that it goes hand in hand with painting, music, poetry, architecture… where we search to find the perfect balance.
José Joaquim Da Silva Perdigão is the man behind the wine of Quinta do Perdigão.
Quinta do Perdigão. About the Winery
Quinta do Perdigao is a small family run wine estate in the Dão wine region (Central Portugal), established in 1997 by Jose Perdigão. Only 17 acres (7hectares) of vineyards at an altitude of 365 meters, along the river Dão, the river that gives its name to this prominent wine region. The grapes are organically grown with little intervention, with respect and care for the environment. Production, vinification, and bottling are fully carried out at the estate.
Winemaking at Quinta do Perdigão is a true symphony of knowledge, care, passion, creativity and imagination that results in extremely balanced, fresh and elegant wines with personality.
During harvest, grapes are hand-picked and then fermented in stainless still tanks designed by José Perdigão himself. Every tank is decorated with a picture of the fermentation process happening inside the tank, reflecting the unique personality of a new wine. Occasionally, the wine is even serenaded by classical music. It is difficult to say whether music has any positive effect on wine or not, but it certainly has on people who work at the winery. Some of the wine then goes to the cellar where it is left to mature. Each bottle is numbered and wax sealed by hand, with front and back labels that are serious works of art made by British artist and Jose’s wife Vanessa Chrystie.
The Elegance of Dão Region
Surrounded by the mountains, Dão region is totally protected from cold winds and summer rain clouds from the Atlantic. It is warmer in the west and cooler in the north and east. The winters are relatively mild here, and summers are generally sunny, warm and dry. At the end of summer, the days become cooler allowing slow ripening and the development of complex flavors. Most of the vineyards are situated at the altitudes between 150-500m (500- 1650 ft) above the sea level on decomposed schist or granite. Touriga Nacional is the leading grape of the region and usually is blended with either Alfocheiro or Tinta Roriz. Jaen is another red variety which produces wines with a delicate perfume and mellow tannins. White wine is often made from the Encruzado, the region’s most widely planted white variety. The predominant characteristic that unites the wines of Dão, whether red or white, is the balance of acidity, alcohol and flavor concentration. All elements combine to produce an elegant glass of wine.
Quinta do Perdigão. The Wine
Quinta do Perdigão produces small quantity of high-quality wines with great freshness and minerality, full-bodied, very elegant reds made from Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Jaen, some serious roses and luminous whites made of Encruzado grape variety.
Here are some of the wine we have tasted and enjoyed…
Encruzado 2015 Quinta do Perdigão – fruit-forward and mineral-driven, crispy fresh and persistent, with enough body to work with complex fish dishes or other options. Reminds me of Chardonnay, but of course with local terroir influence. Drink or keep for more complexity.
Avg. Price (ex-tax) $20
Rose 2015 Quinta do Perdigão (Alfrocheiro 10%; Touriga Nacional 15%; Jaen 35%; Tinta Roriz 40%) – very elegant with delicate aromas of red currant, raspberry, and some exotic fruit notes. Fresh, vibrant and dangerously delicious. Great aperitif wine, sushi best match.
Avg. Price (ex-tax): $15
Alfrocheiro 2011 Quinta do Perdigão – soft-textured, cherry fruited with hints of rosemary, black pepper, and tobacco. Complex and very elegant. Keep or drink now.
Avg. Price (ex-tax): $29
Reserva 2006 Quinta do Perdigão (Touriga Nacional -50% Tinta Roriz 20% Jaen 20% Alfrocheiro 10%) – a lovely bouquet of ripe dark fruit and herbaceous aromas, fresh and intense with fine, structured tannins and a long-lasting smooth finish. Keep or drink now.
Where to find: Currently, not available in the USA
I haven’t tried Touriga Nacional, unfortunately, but I’ve heard it’s a real gem, which is well worth looking out for.
If you travel to Dão, reach out Jose and ask for advice, he’s the most passionate person I have ever met. If he is around he’ll give you a tour around the vineyard and the cellar. You can taste and buy his wine right at the winery or on your way back in the duty-free shops at the Lisbon or Porto airport.
Otherwise, get in touch with someone from the Welcome Center of the Dão Wine Route in the city of Viseu, the organization that promotes the region and local wines. The Welcome center has two Wine tasting rooms, Media library and the Exhibition hall where you can taste local wines (from Tuesday to Saturday) and see the work of local artists. Check ready-to-go itineraries and other wineries at Dão.
Address: GPS: 40º34’18,00”N / 7º56’00,00”W
Pindelo de Silgueiros
3500-543 Silgueiros – Viseu – Portugal
Quinta do Perdigão website: http://www.quintadoperdigao.com
Email José Perdigão: firstname.lastname@example.org