Review: Taboadella - Amorim family’s new venture in Portugal’s Dão

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

28 July 2020

Led by winemaker Luisa Amorim, Taboadella is the Amorim family’s new venture in Portugal’s Dão region. Jacopo Mazzeo takes a look at the wines

The Amorim Group acquired the Taboadella winery from its previous owners two years ago but only this July launched its first range of wines and the estate’s wine tourism facility.

‘The investment in Taboadella has been carefully thought out and is a highly coveted venture,’ said Luisa Amorim. ‘We have been operating in the Douro region, with Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora over the past 20 years but we never hid our profound admiration for the Dão. It is a classic Portuguese wine region and was the first to be demarcated for non-fortified wines. It was here, in this region next to the Douro, that we discovered this high-altitude territory that has excellent granite and micro-terroirs.’

The 2,500m2 winery was designed with gravity flow winemaking in mind by leading Portuguese architect Carlos Castanheira, and has got a production capacity of 290,000 litres per vintage. 

Taboadella Winery
Taboadella Winery

The estate’s 25 vineyard plots (40ha in total) are dry farmed and have an average density of 3,500 plants/ha. They’re planted to ‘old grape varieties’ – Jaen, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Pinheira – as well as Tinta Roriz, Encruzado, Cercial (also known as Sercial), and Bical, which were planted in the 1980s.

The lineup, reviewed below, includes the Villae range, ‘lighter wines, [two blends] of traditional white and red varieties’, four monovarietal wines – Encruzado, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Jaen – and the Grande Villae Tinto and Branco, Taboadella’s top wines.

Villae Branco 2019

Taboadella’s entry level white, a blend of Encruzado, Bical and Cercial grapes, is a serious by-the-glass option. It’s decisively fruit-forward, mostly apple, pear and nectarines, but with a hint of saltiness to balance things out. The palate is creamy and warm yet never out of balance, with some wild herbs and notes of greengages on the midpalate.

Villae Tinto 2018

Like the white alternative, this blend of Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira and Alfrocheiro overdelivers for the price (RRP €9,90). It’s got depth, lots of dark fruits and some dried berries, plus a touch of orange zest and cola too. Round, ripe tannins on the palate, a bit of meatiness and a dry, liquorice finish.

Encruzado Reserva 2018

We’ve sung the praises of variety on Imbibe before, claiming that it might be set to become Portugal’s signature white grape variety. And this wine is here to confirm our claims, showing the Encruzado great potential to make structured, age-worthy whites. The palate is quite firm and saline, elegantly rounded up by the oak, which is present but extremely well integrated. Great depth.

Alfrocheiro Reserva 2018

A floral, gentle expression with aromas of violet, pomegranate, incense and some tart red berries in the background. Crunchy sour cherry on the palate plus a plethora of forest fruit flavours. Oak is very integrated, the finish a little bitter.

Jaen Reserva 2018

The more austere of the varietal bunch. The palate is elegant, with tight tannins. It develops as it sits in the glass, showing some sweet red cherry and a touch of spicy pepperiness.

Touriga Nacional Reserva 2018

A lovely deep, intense, wine. The nose displays lots of ripe dark fruit, plum and cherry. Despite the rich character the palate is fresh and fragrant, with tannins under control. There’s some interesting candied fruit, liquorice and even peach flavours, leading to a spicy finish. Oak present, but kept well under control.

Grande Villae Branco 2018

This blend of mainly Encruzado and Bical shows this region’s potential to make outstanding white wines. There’s pear, lime, lemon, olive brine and juicy pineapple. The palate is supported by a fresh, acidic spine and leads to a saline, crystalline finish. Can be enjoyed now but a couple of years more will benefit oak integration.

Grande Villae Tinto 2018

A blend of Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. It’s spicy, savoury, structured, with firm but ripe tannins. Great concentration supported by fresh acidity in the mouth. A beautiful wine, testament to the potential of this region.

 

The wines aren’t imported in the UK yet. For more info contact the winery at taboadella@amorimfamilyestates.com

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