Encruzado Reserva 2021 – Taboadella 1255.
Have you heard of ‘Encruzado’ variety before? What kind of wine Dão region reminds you of?
When we met this grape variety first was in the WSET Diploma textbook. The explanation is ‘the key white grape variety for high quality wines’ and it is known as one of exceptions as a single varietal wine amongst the majority of Portugese wines which are blends. This attracted us. In this review, we are discussing the mentioned region and variety with the “Encruzado Reserva 2021” by Taboadella 1255.
About the Region and Grape
Dão is located in the Central Northern Portugal and most vineyards are located on a gentle slope at the 400-500 meters altitude. The highest mountain in this region, Serra da Estrela with 900 meters, provides a moderating influence during daytime and contributes with coolness at night, hence wines from Dão tend to be less full-bodied and intense than those from the Douro, often with fresher flavors and higher acidity.
Encruzado is rare variety, which is almost exclusively grown in Dão region. It has great potential but is challenging to make high quality wine as it is very prone to oxidation and the loss of its delicate aromas. Delicate cultivation and crafting are needed but, delivering tremendous rewards if done right. It also a good affinity with barrel fermentation and lees aging, giving a well-structured wine a little like a Burgundian white. When well-crafted and aged, these full-bodied wines can develop aromas of hazelnut and pine resin too.
About the Winery
The producer, Amorim Family have been involved in wine since 1870. Its origins were in the cork business and today Corticeira Amorim is the largest world producer of cork products and one of the most renowned family groups in Portugal. Since 1999, the fourth generation of the family is now involved in wine, expanding its business from Douro to Dão. Taboadella in Dão consists of 40 hectares of vineyards at 400-530m altitude, with gentle slopes that have a great sun exposition to south and west. Now Encruzado accounts for 20% of their vineyards and the average age of their vines is 30 years, but some are more than 100 years.
About the Wine
The wine is made from 100% Encruzado. Almost half of the wine is aged in new French oak for 8 months and the other half in stainless steel vats. It has an ABV of 13.5%.
First impression: Defined vibrant fruits that are exceptionally concentrated, showing white peach, lemon, fresh green apple and dill. These aromas are accentuated by its lily and cinnamon formed edge. Subtle oak plays an elegant role here by complimenting the vanilla and clove flavors and expressing complexity with hazelnuts, beeswax, which is remarkable at this age. On the palette a well-structured wine that delivers mouthwatering acidity and a full body, which is lifted by a creamy and oily texture.
Overall this is a well-balanced and well-integrated wine. The finish has a nice mineralic length, combined with lemon and hazelnuts notes, which show promise in the present and future.
Conclusion: This is a hidden gem, which could remind you of a great Puligny or a high-quality South African Chenin Blanc. Indigenous grapes have been in a trend for wine connoisseurs recently. This one is certainly worth trying if you are looking for a new high-quality wine.
This review is written by Kazumi Uejo on behalf of Dutch Wine Apprentice. The wine is imported in The Netherlands by Vinites and available through associated retailers and restaurants.
Taste date: December 2022
Score: 93/100 DWA Score
Website: Taboadella 1255