Tinto Cão is a historic wine grape from Portugal and is primarily grown in the Douro, Dão, and Lisbon regions. It is used in port wines as well as dry table reds, roses, and dessert wines globally. Tinto Cão produces full-bodied wines with fruity and floral aromas. The variety has high vigor and good fruit quality in hot and dry climates, though yields may be relatively low. In the Parlier (Fresno County, California) trial it exhibited low to moderate yields and little rot.
Origins and History
Tinto Cão is a wine grape dating back to the 17th century in the Douro and Dão regions of northern Portugal; it is now predominantly grown in the Douro, Dao, and Lisbon regions. Recent studies have established a genetic relation between Viosinho, Tinta Francisca, and Tinta Cão. Also, Tinto Cão is a parent of the Rubired variety.
The name Tinto Cão means “Red Dog;” though the meaning behind the name is uncertain. Traditionally Tinto Cão was used in port winemaking, and while it still is, its use has grown to include dry table wines, roses, and dessert wines.
Tinto Cão has large, thin, five-lobed leaves. The leaves also have shallow sinuses that are sometimes toothed. The clusters are loosely compact, small to medium in size, and can be double or single winged with a conical or cylindrical shape. Berries are round, black, and small with thick skin and blue hues.
Tinto Cão is generally known for its lower yields and high vigor. Hot to warm and dry climates are favored by the vine, and are needed for the fruit to reach maturity.
Spur-pruned Tinto Cão vines in a Parlier (Fresno County, California) trial were moderately productive with the yields averaging 9.4 tons per acre between 2007-2009. Low levels of rot were also noted during these trials (Table 1).
In Portugal Tinto Cão is an important component of port wines, it is also used for dry reds and rose wines. Tinto Cão makes a deeply colored, full bodied table wine with the capacity to age and has fruity and floral aromas. The variety is also used for dessert wines in Israel, Australia, and the United States.
Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo. Tinto Cao. Available at: https://www.vivairauscedo.com/en/product-sheet/tinto-cao/ (Accessed 6th June 2023)
Robinson, J., J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz. 2012. Wine Grapes. HarperCollins, New York
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