Tinto Cao Red Wine Variety

Tinto Cao the name means Red Dog in Portuguese, is a red wine variety formerly used chiefly as part of the blend in Port. Nowadays the variety is increasing used in red wine blends and occasionally as a varietal dry red wine.

Bridge in PortoThe Dom Luis Bridge in Porto has a a pedestrian walkway on the top deck offering great views on the historic centre of Porto, the Port wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia and the river Douro.

The origin of this variety is the regions of Dao and the Douro in Northern Portugal. Overall the plantings are declining in line with the decline in port wine production but some producers are increasingly interested in using the variety for dry red table wine.

Tinto Cao is known for producing wines with intense colour and aromas capable of ageing.

It is particularly favoured as a component of vintage port because of its ability to age.

Tinto cao in Australia

Tinto Cao is one of several Portuguese varieties that were brought to Australia to make port style wines. They are still used for that purpose, but they are also used to add flavour to blended dry red wines.

For example the highly regarded Yarra Yering Dry Red No 3 is a blend of predominantly Touriga National and includes (in diminishing proportions) Tinto Cão, Tinta Amarela, Alvarelhao, Roriz and Sousão.

With the growing popularity of Touriga in Australia other Portuguese varieties like Tinta Cao are receiving attention as blending partners for dry red wines.

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Australian Producers of Tinto Cao

I am unaware of any varietal Tinto Cao wine being made in Australia.  The producers the wineries listed below are using it in blends to make dry red wines or port style wines.

  • 919 Wines Riverland
  • Campbells Rutherglen
  • Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen
  • D'Arenberg McLaren Vale
  • Happs Margaret River
  • Mansfield Wines Mudgee
  • Mazza Geographe
  • Old Plains Adelaide Plains
  • Peel Estate Peel
  • Pennyweight Winery Beechworth
  • Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen
  • Quattro Mano Barossa Valley
  • Stanton and Killeen Wines Rutherglen
  • Windsors Edge Hunter Valley
  • Yarra Yering Yarra Valley

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