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Wine Reviews: Review of Quinta de Cabriz Dao 2000
Dao means "duh" -- as in No-brainer, or This Dao is Rising
by: Vino Joe

Wine Reviews Home / Vices Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

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.

For 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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