António Madeira began his winemaking journey with absolutely nothing - no vineyard, no winery, not even a small piece of land to call his own. However, what he did possess was an immense sense of pride that comes with being born in one place but feeling a strong sense of belonging to another. Parisian-born lad with Portuguese roots in the Dão region, António always felt a deep connection to his heritage. In his younger days, he'd visit the family land without giving the wine or grape harvest a second thought.
António formed a wine tasting club with his colleagues and started to learn more and more about the liquid gold. In 2010, he started making wine in the region, and by 2016, he'd permanently moved back to the Dão to take care of the old vines that local farmers had abandoned.
António Madeira's vineyards are like a treasure trove, hidden away in the easternmost part of the Dão region. With a continental climate and granite soil, it's no wonder that he believes the Dão has the potential to produce wines that age like fine art. But it's not just a matter of climate and soil, it's also António's passion for winemaking that makes his wines so special.
He takes pride in his "living museum" of old vines, some of which are over a century old. While other producers are giving up on their vineyards, António is nurturing them with care and attention, ensuring that they continue to produce grapes of the highest quality. And it's not just about the age of the vines, it's also about the variety. António has over 40 different varieties in his vineyards, including the esteemed Baga grape, which is a testament to the rich diversity of the region.
What sets António's wines apart is their ability to age gracefully. The cool nights in the Dão region allow for slow maturation of the grapes, which results in wines with natural acidity that can be preserved for years to come. And it's not just António who believes in the aging potential of Dão wines. The classics of the region, such as the Centro de Estudos de Nelas from the 1970s, are a testament to the fact that these wines only get better with time.
So the next time you see the word "DÃO" inscribed in bold letters on a bottle of wine, know that you're about to experience something truly special, crafted with care and passion by António Madeira in the heart of the Dão region.