Like many of our discoveries, Quinta da Fata came to us by chance. At a restaurant in the little town of Nelas the owner guided us through her wine list crammed with Dão wineries most of which we hadn't heard of. Thanks to the very kind prices of the local wines we were able to try as many as our appetites would allow, until a bottle of Fata Reserva 2017 hit just the spot.
The next day, and a phone call later, we arrived at the charming property in nearby Vilar Seca via a driveway of topiaried box hedges. At the centre was a fine, traditional country house steeped in history and vineyards laid out around, along with gardens and a fountain hopping with frogs. The place radiated calm, and as we toured the winery we knew we had found a local gem, characterised by its traditional approach and the quality of its wines.
There are just 6.5 hectares of traditional Dão grape varieties planted on south-facing granitic slopes. Despite some restructuring and modernisation in 1999 the old granite lagares were preserved and are still used today for crushing the grapes by foot, and for fermentation. There are two reds made using touriga nacional, tinta roriz and alfrocheiro, with longer ageing for the reserva in a mix of French and American oak, and a varietal touriga nacional. A single white from encruzado is made without oak, displaying appealing verve and minerality.