2005 Callabriga Dao Red

2005 Callabriga Dao RedPrice: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Evaton Inc.

What They Said:

Per wine.com “CALLABRIGA DÃO 2005 is deep red in colour with lively aromas of fresh and ripe fruits, and has some notes of resin and aromatic herbs. Full-bodied, it is abundant and firm in tannins, with lively acidity. This acidity is still present on the finish which is lively with notes of fruits.

Callabriga Dão 2005 is produced from a blend of red varieties Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro Preto, expressing the region’s characteristic sensory liveliness.

#57 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2008″

What I Think:

I came across both this Dao and the Douro offering at Trader Joe’s. Having long coveted a TJ’s Portuguese offering (2nd only to my desire for a $5 quaffable Malbec) I grabbed both despite the $9 (lofty by my standard TJ’s price point) at first blush. For those that may not know Portugal has long been known for dessert wines and has only recently begun focusing on producing quality red wines for exports (I know this is a massive generalization). The good news for those of us stateside is that are ultra-affordable. One of my first wine loves was a $9 bottle of Ramos Pinto, ever since I’ve been smitten with these offerings.

Now onto this one, pure pleasure from the start. Rich blackberries on the nose with pepper and mint in the periphery. The color is a dense purple. On the palate you are greeted with flavorful fruit on a dry, leathery, backbone which lingers/tickles on a lasting finish. Velvety smooth and smoky throughout. Warning! I like drier reds and am a sucker for Portugal. That said this is the best sub $10 bottle of Portuguese wine I’ve had in years…Skip the Douro, but splurge and grab a bottle or two of this now. Were it a few dollars cheaper I would likely be buying by the case.

Rating: Buy It

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15 thoughts on “2005 Callabriga Dao Red

  1. Check the Callabriga website. I have never seen anything like that. The communication in there is really what I as a drinker love to know about the wines I drink. They are really doing a great job in that tiny country and the marvelous wines coming our way in the US are just the tip of the iceberg. Portugal is one of the most surprising countries I know, being that small they produce just about any type of wine in there, from Ports to crispy dry whites, from Late Harvests to the elegant Dao reds like this one that rivals some of the best Pinot Noirs. Did you know that Portugal is the country in the world with the largest number of native grape varieties (270)?

  2. Sorry, Jason, but I am not a fan of this one, despite the high Wine Spectator ranking and your review. A spectacular and beguiling nose of blueberry pie, cherry pie, oregano and menthol led to a tasting experience in a far lower class from that of the aromas . Though it is a quite smooth wine with soft tannins, its flavors of leather and smoke, overwhelmed, in a disappointing way to me, very faint, restrained flavors of raspberry and mint. This was at the opposite end of the spectrum from a hedonistc, fruit bomb. Also, you warned us on this about this wine’s dryness. But the dryness was pleasant and didn’t bother me at all.

  3. @Portugal The site is interesting, not all that usable but interesting. As for the wines themselves I am a fan. Wish they would let out more of the cheaper stuff for export though.

    @Eric Have to spend all the money I make blogging somewhere…

    @Danny Sorry to hear you weren’t a fan. Should have warned you that dryness to me often correlates directly with limited fruit flavor. Had another bottle a few nights ago and I am still a fan. That said I did mention above I am a sucker for Portugal :)

  4. I agree with the author at the top. This is a surprisingly big and tasty wine for only $9. I have been a fan of Portuguese ports and vinho verdes for years, but this is one of the first big reds I have tasted from the Dao region. It reminds of a big syrah, with its inky color and black fruit flavors. You may not mistake it for a $40 bottle of wine, but it could easily sell for twice the price tag without disappointing the purchaser. It really is very very nice.

  5. This was a good one! At 8.99 well worth it. You are doing a great service by rating these lower priced TJ wines. Although, I have not found much under the 5.99 price that I would buy another bottle of yet. Keep up the good work. My favorites are heavy reds, would love to see more of those. Not a fan of Cab Francs at all.

  6. @Paul Been drinking more of this and agree each time that this is better than 50% of the bottles I pay double the price for.

    @Gary Thanks for the positive feedback. I’ll see what I can do on heavy reds though I am personally a Cab Franc fan…

  7. 2006 Callabriga Douro is excellent and still at $8.99. Available now at TJ’s. Love this wine and its smooth texture with a full body that will pair with almost any beef or lamb dish.

    Also check out one of the BEST Chianti Wines ever a 2005 Reserve (Incanto) at $9.99 and is equal to any $20-25 full bodied Chianti you will ever taste! 100%
    Sangiovese this wine is excellent!
    :-)

  8. Jerry, I had the Douro but wasn’t quite the fan you were. Have you tried the Dao? Good stuff. As for the Chianti I’ll take a look. Think the only Incanto I’ve had was a rose sparkler. If I track it down I’ll certainly let you know what I think…

  9. Can’t add much more value that what’s already been said, but wanted to cast my vote for the 2005 DAO. Let it sit for 20 minutes and the sweet fresh fruit ferments in your mouth. It’s like ‘you spilled Pinot in my Syrah’. It sells for $20 here in Ontario which puts it in a very competitive category. There are plenty of decent wines for $20, but this one has a bit more complexity than most and a very refreshing, rich flavour. It could do without the oakiness but that probably contributes to it’s smoothness and velvety creaminess that reminds me a bit of a ripasso. I’m stocking up.

  10. Just got back from a trip to Portugal and we LOVED the wine!! Had a great tasting at Vini Portugal :
    http://www.viniportugal.pt
    BLOWN AWAY by all the grape varietals/wines we’ve never heard of – Portugal has 29 DOC’s!!
    Portugal is the best-kept secret in Europe – GREAT food (esp. seafood), GREAT wine, still affordable (even w/ the s*** currency we call the dollar), no s***** attitudes like you encounter next door in Spain and other EU countries, AND….. most everyone under 30 speaks fluent English which I am sorry to say is just plain nice/convenient….definitely going back and in the meantime going to drink all the Callabriga Dao and the Espiral Vinho Verde:
    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009/01/cheap_wines_that_dont_suck_esp.php
    from TJ’s that my liver can handle….!!

  11. Gary, thanks for the comment, well said! Hadn’t thought to think of it like a Ripasso. I’ll keep that in mind for next time…

    runaway, My wife went to Portugal recently but I haven’t been in pushing on two decades, aka pre wine for me. I imagine you feel about their wines as I do about those from Greece after returning from a trip there. Need to get back to Portugal soon…

  12. Hey Gary, if you are looking for something under $5.99 try Epicurio at TJ. Their wines really stand out from the pack.

  13. I’ll look for that. Thanks. I just loaded up on Penley’s Condor which sells for a bit more but great value in the $20 grouping.

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