Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A golden Encruzado just after the hurricane-driven flames that came close to obliterating Portugal's Casa De Mouraz in 2017

A golden Encruzado just after the hurricane-driven flames 

that came close to obliterating Portugal's Casa De Mouraz in 2017

Casa De Mouraz Encruzado Vinho Branco Dão (DOC) 2018, 13% 

€21-22. The Vintry Dublin. Mary Pawle Wines. 

The colour is a gorgeous and inviting golden straw with tints of green. The feel-good factor continues with the expressive aromas, a magnificent melange of citrus (lemon and orange zest), apricot, and peach, fresh and free. And the second it seeps across the palate you surrender your senses, ignoring all outside distractions, to make the most of the vibrant fruit, its minerality structure and balance. And you’re not ready to reengage with your surroundings for another few sensual seconds as your Encruzado lingers.

Do I hear Highly Recommended? Very Highly Recommended actually!

And to think we almost lost it all in October 2017. Late at night, their phone rang: Your warehouse is on fire! According to the excellent Foot Trodden, “savage forest fires.. had reached Dāo, thanks to Hurricane Ophelia…” Not only was the warehouse almost totally destroyed but the equipment around the yard and more than half of their 20 hectares of vines were also burned. A local news outlet put the cost at not less than €700,000.

Antonio and Sara were down. But not out. Helped by crowdfunding (from December 2017) they got back up and running and produced this marvellous wine, a wine that embodies the excellence of the Encruzado grape variety, the noblest white variety of the Dão.

Winemaker Antonio just loves Encruzado: “It grows in complexity as it ages, is great for oak ageing. It has a wonderful gastronomic ability to cut through fatty foods. It is an autumn wine, a fireplace wine. It may not be in fashion but it is a wonderful variety, wonderful to work with.”


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On food, they recommend pairing it with oven-baked fish (such as codfish, salmon or tuna). “Also very good with white meat and some vegetarian dishes like pasta with pesto or cheese sauces. Aside from handling full-flavoured fish dishes (including the Portuguese favourite bacalao), it is excellent on its own. very versatile indeed. Serve at a temperature of 11-12ºC.”

The label is packed with info: “Mouraz is a little village in the heart of the Dāo, where Antonio’s family have farmed vineyards in a holistic and ecological way for many generations. This wine was made from the indigenous grape Encrruzado, the most important white variety from the Dão. This authentic wine was fermented naturally with controlled temperature and remained on the lees for 12 months (with bâtonnage).”

* The first thing you’ll note is that the cork is covered with wax. Just remove that with the blade on your corkscrew. It is fairly soft but be careful! Alternatively, warm the top by rubbing it with the palm of your hand. Then plunge in the corkscrew as usual and it should all come away. If you get it right, just a little disc of the wax will come away with the cork. Video demo here. 

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