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The area named after the river of the same name with around 20,000 hectares of vineyards was classified as a DOC in 1990 and lies in the middle of the region Beiras in the North Portugal, Viticulture goes back to Greek antiquity back. Especially where vineyards have existed for centuries, there are numerous strange hollows and hollows in the rock in the form of stone basins (Lagaretas). Grapes were probably pressed in these plants. This process, typical of Portugal, uses grapes in Lagares Stomping (stone troughs) is still practiced today.
The area is framed on three sides by granite mountains and thus protected against the Atlantic. Around 80% of the land area consists of forests, only 5% are used for viticulture. The majority of the vineyards lie on granite soils in the valleys of the three rivers Alva, Mondego and Dão. There are around 100,000 winegrowers who often cultivate the smallest plots of less than half a hectare. Therefore, the vineyards are severely fragmented and are often scattered in dense eucalyptus and pine forests.
The climate is characterized by long, hot summers with relatively high rainfall in autumn and winter. Two-thirds of the region produces color-intensive, tannin and extract-rich red wines. Officially, nine traditional grape varieties are recommended as particularly suitable, and a further thirteen are only permitted in small quantities. The specialty designation Dão nobre (nobre = nobel, noble) is available for the very best wines that are still above the levels Reserva and garrafeira rank.