Dao means "duh" -- as in No-brainer, or This Dao
by: Vino Joe
Every time I enter a wine shop, one of my many missions is to find a daily
drinker: a wine that is affordable, easy (and ready) to drink, has the structure
to match with a variety of foods, and is somewhat interesting. For me,
affordable means under nine bucks; preferably, WELL under nine bucks. Thus, this
mission is generally limited to wines in the five- to eight-dollar range. A few
years ago, that range included a number of wines from all over the world, but
lately has dwindled down to a few areas with scant offerings. For example, it
used to be that good daily drinkers could be had from the Cotes du Rhone region
of France, several areas of Italy, and anywhere from Chile and Argentina. These
days, though, you will be lucky to find a halfway decent wine from any of those
places for less than 11 bucks.
There is, however, good news, and it has nothing to do with my car insurance. At
least one country has filled the "big bang for your buck" niche previously
dominated by South America: Portugal. Portuguese wines have had a tough time
cracking into US wine shops, mostly because of weak marketing and poor education
of consumers. Their neighbor, Spain, has leveraged its success with Rioja and
Ribera del Duero (among others), to give the nation a strong worldwide
reputation for fine fines. However, that doesn't mean the wines of Portugal are
low in quality. In fact, there are some excellent finds, and the dollars saved
in advertising are passed on to you.
example, there is Quinta de Cabriz Dao 2000, a bright, fun red wine that will
set you back only about six bucks. For your information, Dao -- pronounced like
"dow" as in "Dow Jones" -- is located in the north central area of Portugal and
is the primary source for the country’s best red wines. Quinta De Cabriz Dao is
a soft, easy-drinking example of the region, starting with a nose of bright,
sweet raspberries, black cherries, mild earth and vanilla spice. All the fun of
the aromas continue in the mouth, where it tastes like a party and everyone's
invited! Luscious, sweet ripe black raspberry and blueberry flavors burst
upfront, carried by a smooth-as-silk texture. At first, the acidity seems low in
comparison to the fruit, but then catches up in the finish, which is pleasant
and much longer than expected. Tannins and alcohol are fairly low, so don't try
matching it with a rare ribeye.
With all the fruit character, it's hard to believe this wine is four years old.
It's seemingly light and full of youthful fruit, similar to a Beaujolais
Villages -- so think fun and friendly, as opposed to serious and contemplative.
It has enough structure to stand up to a variety of dishes, such as barbecued
white meats, gamey fish, pasta dishes and most Mexican dishes. However, its
ideal role may be as an aperitif or for cocktail hour. Give it 15 minutes in the
fridge for a tender chill, and serve it with appetizers. It will be the hit of
the party and is a super value.
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