Wines made between the coast and the hinterland with an ancient Portuguese history
Dão & Lafões wine region is situated in the territory of the Central Area, between the coast and the hinterland of the country. The region has a rich ancient heritage, spanning from prehistoric times to the present, with Roman and Medieval traces. The region is exceptionally beautiful thanks to the mountainous surrounding. Moreover, the richness and diversity of the local gastronomy alongside the aromatic and balanced Dão wines creates additional attractiveness for the region. When Lafões wines display more acidity like its neighbor Vinho Verde. Come and enjoy unique wines from this transitional wine region of the center of Portugal.
Usually, Dão wines can age well. Historically these wines became known as being over oxidized and full-bodied. In response to this, the modern winemaking techniques that are now being used are producing white wines that are more fresh, fragrant, and fruity. Today, many of the wineries in the region now using a shorter aging process in newer oak barrels. Some have even decided to produce unoaked wines so that the natural qualities of the wine can shine through. As a result, white wines from the Dão region are considered to be aromatic, fruit, and balanced in flavor.
The Dão red wines are aromatic and full-bodied. Because they are left to age in the bottle, they are more complex in their flavors. These red wines tend to be quite tannic because of the prolonged maceration periods during the winemaking process.
The wines from the Lafões region have a higher level of acidity because they are closer to the Vinho Verde Winemaking region. These Lafoes red wines age well but tend to be high in acidity. The white wines for this region have a low alcohol content and are crisp with a fruity bite.
The top of the range estate red wines from the Dão wine region are mainly made from Tinta Rodiz and Touriga Nacional. Along with these two major grapes, Jaen and Alfrocheiro Preto are other common red grape varieties used in red wine production. Encruzado white grape variety is the base of fine white wines from Dão.
The main grape varieties used in Lafões are Arinto, Cerceal, Dona Branca, Esgana Cão, and Rabo de Ovelha, being the red dominated by the varieties Amaral and Jaen.
List of Grape Varieties of Dão & Lafões Wine Region
White Grape Varieties: Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Arinto, Dona Branca, Malvasia, Fina, Rabo de Ovelha, Verdelho, Esgana Cao.
Where to Taste Dão & Lafões Wines
The best way to catch the real flavors of the wine and fully enjoy it is to taste them directly in a cellar. Wineries in Dão & Lafões offer a diversity of wine tourism experiences.
Quinta dos Roques
Quinta dos Roques is a third-generation family-owned winery in Abrunhose do Mato, Dao and Lafoes. This well-known winery works only with traditional grapes of the region to make traditional Portuguese blends. This winery is a must-visit for all wine lovers. Do not miss the chance to get to know the incredible Quinta dos Roques wine flavours.
Aguiar da Beira – The Quintessential Medieval Town
The town of Aguiar da Beira lies in the countryside of the high granite plateau of the Serra de Lapa. All of the houses in this quaint town are made of granite and are all grouped around a main square with a distinct medieval feel. Some of the most popular attractions to visit in Aguiar da Beira are the LInhares and Tancoso Castles. These are both medieval castles that were built at the beginning of the 14 century. Visiting these castles provides a wonderful insight into this historical region of Portugal.
The Heart of the Viseu District
Viseu is a city that is located in the Centro Region of Portugal. It is also the capital of the Viseu District. The greatest attraction of Viseu its rich culture and history that spans over millennia. The city is also famous for being the birthplace of Vasco Fernandes, one of the greatest painters of the Portuguese Renaissance. Today, Viseu is visited by large numbers of tourists annually thanks to its booming wine industry. A trip to Viseu is a wonderful experience to satisfy the needs of every visitor.
Tarouca – The first monastery of Portugal
Tarouca is a city located in the Viseu District of Portugal. For all those who visit Tarouca, a visit to the Mosteiro de Sao Joaj de Tarouca is a must do. This monastery is the first monastery of the Cistercian Order and the mother house of various other monasteries across Portugal. Other attractions which make Tarouca a magical place to visit are the Praia Fluvial Do Rio Varosa Em Tarouca, the Avenida Nova da Ponte, the Praia Fluvial De Mondim Da Beira Em Tarouca, the Praça da Boa Vontade, and the Padrao De Vila Cha Da Beira Em Tarouca.
Natural places to visit in Dão & Lafões
The natural environment of the Dão & Lafões regions is extremely unique. This land is perfectly located between the coast and the Portuguese hinterland. This wine region is located at a very high altitude and during the winter months is perfectly covered in layers of snow. The region is crossed by a network of rivers and streams, creating beautiful valleys. Dão & Lafões provide the perfect natural environment for excellent wine and wonderful travel experiences.
Reserva Botanica de Cambarinho – Escape to the Heaven on Earth
The Cambarinho Botanical Reserve can be found on the northern slopes of the Serro do Caramulo mountain. This nature reserve covers part of the Cambarinho stream hydrographic basin. The vegetation of the Cambarinho Botanical Reserve creates a mosaic of diverse plant species that one can spend hours marveling at.
Lagao Comprida – A Dam of Intense Beauty
The Lagai Comprida is a dam located in Seia in Dão & Lafões. The dam was designed in 1910 and has a current retention level of 1600 m, storing 14 million cubic meters of water. The dam is incredibly beautiful and provides wonderful views of the surrounding areas. The dam is also the starting point for a range of hikes of varying intensity levels. A visit to the Lagao Dam is the perfect opportunity to experience one of the highest peaks of Portugal.
Bestanca River – Where Time Stands Still
The Bestanca River is located in Cinfaes in the Dão & Lafões region. The Bestanca River is the perfect retreat for nature and adventure lovers. The river valley provides a range of lovely walking and hiking trails through changing environments. The water of the Bestanca River can be described as crystal clear and some even say this is the purest water in Europe. This river is a must-see attraction for all who have the privilege of visiting Dao and Lafoes.
What not to miss in Dão & Lafões
No visit to Dão & Lafões would be complete without a trip to Torre. Torre is the highest point in Mainland Portugal. This mountain summit is easy to reach as it is accessible by a paved road. The peak is located in the Serra da Estrela mountain range and the elevation is 1 993 meters. A trip to the peak provides the most breath-taking views of the Dão & Lafões region. Near to Torre, there are a number of restaurants, stores, and even a ski center for the most adventurous traveler.
Authentic Food You Should Try Here
The cuisine of the Dão & Lafões regions can be described as rich, traditional, and varied. The incredible foods and restaurants in this wine region have also become one of its biggest attractions. The wonderful dishes of this region are known for using the best in local ingredients paired with the excellent local wines. A trip through Dão & Lafões is a truly magical gastronomical journey.
Cozido a Portuguesa – A Portuguese Mixed Meat Boil
Cozido a Portuguesa is a traditional Portuguese stew. This dish is made with a mixture of Portuguese boiled meats. Along with the range of meats, this stew includes a number of vegetables. Cabbage, beans, potatoes, turnips, and rice add flavour to the stew. These vegetables are mixed with chicken, pork ribs, bacon, pork ears, pork trotters and various cuts of beef to make a delicious and flavoursome stew. No visit to Portugal is completed without a warm dish of Cozido a Portuguesa paired with a Portuguese wine.
Vitela de Lafoes – The local veal of Lafoes
Vitela de Lafoes is the veal of the Lafoes region that is exclusively produced by the family farms of the region. These farms are located in the huge green Lafoes Valley that runs along the Vouga and Douro rivers. This land is what gives the Lafoes veal its extremely high quality – a quality that has been documented from as early as the 19th century. Lafoe’s veal is meat from the crossing of two breeds of cattle – the Mirandesa and the Arouqesa. The cattle are reared in pens and fed a diet of their mother’s milk, hey, and seasonal vegetables. Once the animals are slaughtered the meat is left to age for 5 days. The flavor of the Lafoes veal is distinct and reflects the natural diet of the calves.
Requeijiao Serra da Estrela – Local cheese from Viseu
Serra da Estrela is a form of cottage cheese from the Viseu region. This cheese is made by heating and curdling unpasteurized sheep milk. The sheep breeds that are used for this cheese are the Churra Bordaleira and the Mondeguiera sheep. After the unpasteurized milk is heated, rennet is added to make sure that the milk curdles. Once the milk separates, it is trained and packed immediately in parchment. Serra da Estrela is best eaten fresh with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. It can also be enjoyed as a dessert with honey, nuts, and preserves. The perfect end to a long, warm Portuguese day.