The white varieties of Dão – Caminhos Cruzados - A paixão do novo Dão

The white varieties of Dão

The white wines from the different Caminhos Cruzados ranges, well known by all our friends, are mainly made from 5 typical grape varieties, Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Bical, Cerceal, Gouveio and 2 international standard grape varieties, Semillon and Chardonnay. Here we are giving prevalence to the queen of Dão, Encruzado.

Currently in the Dão region, the planting of 85 different plants, red, white and pink, is permitted. In the case of white wines, there are 22 varieties authorized for Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) certification wine and 20 varieties permitted for Protected Geographical Identification (IGP) certification, in addition to those mentioned for DOP.

Of the varieties presented, which we work with, we highlight 4 of those that are most produced and used in single varieties and blended wines in the Region.


Considered the queen of Dão, the Encruzado grape variety is mainly found in the Dão region. “Rediscovered” by Engineer Alberto Vilhena from the Center for Wine Studies, in Nelas, it became, from the end of the 20th century, an asset for Dão as it demonstrated masterful quality.

This variety, being quite productive, is often used in single-varietal wines or to enrich Dão blends. The aromatic notes are quite distinct, ranging from floral, to citrus, resinous, and in addition, due to the terroir where it is found, you can find a very prominent mineral. One cannot fail to highlight its perfect balance between sugar and acidity, which provides very pleasant, structured, unctuous wines that are excellent for aging. 

Typical aromas: Lemon | Pink | Violet | Resin

Pairs well with: Risotto, seafood dishes such as scallops or shrimp, fish dishes with texture, monkfish will be a good option. It also works with more intense dishes, such as pasta recipes and French veal stew. We cannot forget the cheeses, with semi-soft paste or washed rind with a mild flavor, with Encruzado they are a perfect combination.   


Normally also called “Borrado das Moscas” because it presents, on the film, some small dark brown spots, Bical gained attention from winemakers during the technological revolution in the 80s.

Being a very early variety, it becomes a variety with high alcoholic capacity, however, with regards to acidity, it shows a deficit in this field.  On the nose the notes prevail in the field of orchard fruit, in certain years they may be more discreet and sensual and of tropical fruit. It is especially used in batches for its aromatic aspect.

Typical aromas: Peach | Apricot | Mango | Papaya

Pairs well with: fish and seafood dishes, such as shellfish with rice, cooked mussels, grilled white fish with risotto, or even chicken dishes


It was one of the most cultivated white varieties in Dão according to records from the second half of the 19th century. In Portugal you can find 3 varieties with a phonetically similar name, but different varieties, Cerceal do Dão and Douro, Cercial da Bairrada and Sercial da Ilha da Madeira, identical to the dog grape.

Due to late maturation and high productivity, it is necessary to focus all attention on this variety, so that good balances between sugar and acidity are achieved. Not being bold on an aromatic level, maintaining its citrus aroma, it is, like Bical, an excellent variety for creating blends with more aromatic varieties such as Malvasia Fina or Encruzado.

Typical aromas: Grapefruit | lime

Pairs well with: Cod dishes go very well with this variety, different seafood preparations and yellow cheeses, such as Gouda.

Malvasia Fina

Malvasia-Fina, also known as Arinto do Dão or Boal on Madeira Island, is a very old grape variety, of Roman or Greek origin, and is present in several Portuguese regions, predominantly in Dão, Douro and Beira Interior.

When it comes to production, it is quite inconsistent as it is sensitive to powdery mildew, mildew, rot and mildew. With delicate and not very complex aromatic notes, Malvasia Fina deviates from the typical floral or fruity aromas and presents us with honeyed notes, spice, and a waxy note. The wines are, as the name “Fina” indicates, fine and elegant, without high complexity and intensity. Another variety that provides special notes when used in batches, particularly with the Encruzado variety.    

Typical aromas: Wax | Nutmeg | Smoke

Pairs well with: Malvasia Fina, although not a very structured wine, is recommended for starters, different canapés and pâtés. It goes very well with cold plates and due to its striking aromas it can accompany desserts in which walnuts, almonds or chestnuts are the center of attention. 


It is with this natural heritage that we create remarkable wines, of great authenticity that grace us at every moment of our lives. Let's toast to Wine and the happiness that infects us!

Text by
Louis Philippe

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