Without question, Quinta Dos Roques is now unquestionably one of the elite estates in the Dão. It is located in the small hamlet of Abrunhosa do Mato which is almost at the center of the well-known wine centres of Mangulade and Nelas. Its origins go back to the 19th century but it is only in the last 15 years that this estate has shown its true colours.
Luis Lourenço, a modest and elegant gentleman oversee the modern winery and pristine vineyards, while winemaking is in the hands of bright Jorge Brites and famous Professor Virgilio Loureiro. The vineyards comprise 40 hectares, located across twelve different plots with a variety of meso climates and soils. Vineyards are batch-planted, with most new plantings being of Touriga Naçional, Tinto Cão and Encruzado.
Quinta das Maias is the sister company of Quinta dos Roques. The Maias estate is at a high elevation which is one of the reasons the wines have an excellent freshness. Luis purchased this estate especially for the Jaen variety. This grape shine in the Dão region, where most of it is grown. The vines are resistant to disease, and the grapes ripen early.At best it is a highly perfumed variety reminiscent of blackberry, blueberry and cherry. Despite a slightly rustic character, it can make early-drinking, soft, silky reds that are simple yet seductive.
Recently Mr Lourenço was in Montreal for a trade tasting of his wines. The red wines are characterised by their depth of colour, purity of fruit, and above all, their exquisite balance and harmony. The whites are as well fresh and equlibrated displaying purity of fruit and the mineral characteristics of their terroir.
The SAQ list only two of their wines under the specialty section of their catalog. The rest can be obtained via private importation with their agent AOC ( www.vinsaoc.ca). Here are my tasting notes on the wines that you can find from Quinta dos Roques and Maias in the Quebec market.
These wines pair well with different meat dishes such as stews or roast. If you are a vegetarian, these reds will go nice with hearty minestrone soups containing red kidney beans or lentils.
Quinta dos Roques 2013. SAQ # 00744805. $17.25
On the nose, notes of prunes, black pit cherry, licorice with caramelized coffee bean. Pleasant notes of chiseled minerality with aromas of violet as well. On the mouth, full body. Structured with firm tannins. Lots of depth with a magnificent acidity. Good to drink now but it can be kept a few years in the cellar. 93/100
Quinta das Maias Dâo 2013. SAQ # 00874925. $17.25
Dusty minerality, with a dark and ripe fruit profile.Notes of mint, balsamic condiment,On the mouth, dry with firm tannins. Refreshing, elegant with a luscious mouth. Wood very discreet. Spicy with a very fine finale. Pleasure to drink it now but it can be kept for 2-3 years in the cellar. 92\100
Maias Tinto 2013. ( Private Import. $16.85. Case of 12)
On the nose, attractive notes of wild cherry, violets and roses. In addition,prunes and smoked peppers. A touch of wild rosemary and eucalyptus complement the bouquet. Full body with supple tannins and a polished mouthfeel. Very elegant with a gracious finale. 90\100.
Wine of the week:
Poças Vale de Cavalos 2014. SAQ # 12455184. $19.85
Poças Juniors house was founded nearly a century ago by Manuel Domingues Poças Júnior and it is one of the rare companies of Port Wine that was born Portuguese and still in same family ownership, being currently managed by family members of the 3rd and 4th generation.
The Poças was always associated with Port Wine, but, since 1990, enlarged their portfolio to the DOC Douro wines, developing Coroa d’Ouro, Vale de Cavalos and Símbolo wines, becoming one of the first companies of Port Wine investing in the DOC Douro wines.
On this wine, the nose is aromatic, intense and concentrated. It reveals aromas of plum, black fruit and slight nuances of licorice with a hint of coffee. The palate is fresh, fleshy, mineral, suave, fluid and elegant with a nice creamy matter and a beautiful and precise fruity expression. Tannins are fine and elegant with a finale that brings to mind blueberry and hazelnut.
By Marco Giovanetti