Caminhos Cruzados; One of the Big Boys in the Dão

The Vineyard on a sunny November morning: Photo Robert K. Stephen

The Poor Jet Lagged Authour!

Very Unhappy Wine Writer a Bad Red Wine Spill; Photo Robert K. Stephen

Talk About a Steak! This Went so well with All the Red Wines!; Photo Robert K. Stephen

In the tank room: Photo Robert K. Stephen

The winery: Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

I just love the name Caminhos Cruzados. For some reason it makes me think of a Mexican motorcycle gang!
They produce 500,000 bottles a year which is remarkable because as for supermarket distribution they only distribute to one local supermarket. Why? The supermarkets pressure the producers to sell to the supermarkets at a low cost and impose all sorts of bureaucratic requirements on the producer.
Caminhos, close to the town of Nelas, is housed in a spanking new facility built a year ago by renowned Porto architect Nuno Pinto Cardozo. Its spotless and the employees seemed revved up and very proud of the new winery. Success is in the air.
Wine has been produced at the winery for 35 years and has 40 hectares under cultivation at different locations in the Dão. They also buy grapes from growers who adhere to Cruzados’ strict quality control requirements. It was the will of co-owner Paulo Santos to modernize the winery and to transform an old agricultural company into a modern wine production and bottling company.
The usual bundle of Dão grapes are used in the wines which means for red wine Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tinta Roriz and for the whites Encruzado and Malvasia Fina.
We were also treated to a tremendous lunch after our wine tasting.
The wines produced go under the brand name “Titular” and the label looks as if it has been made using an old typewriter. Very catchy!
The Titular Encruzado and Malvasia Fina blend is from 2106 and on the nose there is banana, lemon and pineapple. There is a bit of toast notes on the palate but lime and lemon rule the roost. It has a light gold colour.
The Titular 2018 Dão Nova is very young and is an innovative attempt to create a Noveau Beaujolais. It was made with Jaen and was the first wine to be harvested. This fresh beauty should be consumed in a month we are told by Paulo. Sweet red cherries on the nose and the palate. It is also a bit tannic. There has been no ageing in oak.
The Titular Colheita 2015 is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro with a big dollop of blackberry on the nose along with some cherry and raisin notes. Blackberry on the palate with a perfect harmony of acid and tannins. An ideal match with beef.
The Titular 2015 Jaen has had no oak treatment. It is a big and powerful wine full of black fruit. A schoolyard bully meant to handle rare beef.
The Titular 2015 Reserva is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz. It has spent 12 months of oak. You could almost say this is an elegant wine as it has a creamy nose with black cherry, smoke and vanilla. Creamy as well on the taste buds with blackberry, boysenberry and dark chocolate, It has a black cherry colour.
The Titular 2013 Touriga Nacional is garnet in colour and has spent twelve months in oak. On the nose vanilla, chocolate ice cream and coconut. Loads of blackberry on the mouth and big tannins.
The 2015 Titular Alfrocheiro has spent 12 months in oak. On the nose black cherry and red plum. As for the taste cherry liqueur, vanilla and plum jam. It has a black plum colour.
We finish off with a 2013 Touriga Nacional that has spent 18 months in oak and is a blend of Alfrochiero, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. The age has given the wine some complexity with a nose of red cherry, blackberry and blueberry pie. On the palate black cherry, red plum and graphite.
Excellent wines without a doubt. Sadly, none are available on the LCBO retail network.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen

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