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Named after the river of the same name, with around 20,000 hectares of vineyards, it was classified as a DOC in 1990 and lies in the middle of the region Beiras in the North Portugal, The viticulture goes to the Greek antiquity back. There are many strange cavities and depressions in the form of stone basins (Lagaretas), especially where there have been vineyards for centuries. Probably grapes were pressed in these plants. This typical process for Portugal, the grapes in the Lagares To stomp (stone troughs), is still practiced to this day.
The area is surrounded on three sides by granite mountains and thus protected against the Atlantic. About 80% of the land area consists of forests, only 5% are used for viticulture. The vineyards are mostly 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 parcels of less than half a hectare. Therefore, the vineyards are highly fragmented and are often scattered in dense eucalyptus and pine forests.
The climate is characterized by long, hot summers with relatively high amounts of rainfall in autumn and winter. Two-thirds produce intense, tannic and extract-rich red wines, for which the often small-berry and hard-shelled grapes are responsible. On the official side, nine traditional grape varieties are recommended as being particularly suitable, while a further thirteen are permitted in only small quantities. The special denomination Dão nobre (nobre = noble) is available for the very best wines that are still above the steps Reserva and garrafeira rank.