Bairrada is a tiny region located on the coast of Portugal roughly equidistant from Lisbon and Porto. Here, the Atlantic winds and rains have battered away the earth leaving not much but poor limestone, and each year they threaten the grapes with wild, cold, and wet weather. But it is also here that a small but dedicated group of vignerons are quietly making some of the most delicious, long lived, and best value wines in the world.
The white wines of the region are a diverse selection, emerging from the contrasting profile of the region’s two most important white grapes, Bical and Maria Gomes. Those made of Bical can be as transparent, stony, and mineral focused as any of the best Chablis or Assyrtiko in the world, while those based on Maria Gomes can show off a bouquet of florality that would fit nicely into an afternoon of drinking Alsace or Condrieu. The red wines, made almost exclusively of the Baga grape, have the meaty spice of a great Cornas, the herbal refinement of a great Bordeaux, and the structure of a great Barolo. All the wines can age beautifully for decades, and many can be found in the midst of their golden years and of perfect provenance, if you know where to look. Come join us at Le Du’s as we show you the way of Bairrada, opening up some of the rarest and most respected bottlings in the region. The following wines will be poured.
Filipa Pato Branco Nossa Calcario 2017
100% Bical grown on chalky soils in the village of Oís do Bairro. Aged in used Burgundy Barrels.
Quinta das Bageiras Garrafeira Branco
A blend of Maria Gomes and Bical from vines that average about 100 years old, fermented in a single large barrell and then aged in partial New French Oak.
Luis Pato Bairrada Vinhas Velhas Branco 1991
A blend of very old Baga, Maria Gomes, and Cercial vines, fermented and aged all in Portuguese oak. A wine with the beautifully fat texture of age yet still incredibly youthful acidity. Shows off the ageing potential of even the white wines.
Sidonio de Sousa Vinho d’Autor 2005
Vinho d’Autor is a relatively new bottling from Sidonio de Sousa, the 2005 being just the second release of this wine, taken from vintages of outstanding longevity that don’t necessarily have the fruit to justify being included in his Garrafeira (reserve) bottling. Instead, the Vinho d’Autor is focused on showing off the savory, meaty, saline side of Baga. Sidonio is also a stalwart of old fashioned winemaking in the area, one of the last producers committed to Portuguese oak. Or, maybe he is just frugal, his barrels are about 100 years old…
Quinta do Poco do Lobo Bairrada Tinto 1996
Quinta do Poco do Lobo has been making traditional Baga wines in Bairrada for decades, and were one of the few estates in the region to maintain any significant level of production when the region fell out of fashion in the late 1980s and 1990s, cellaring everything they did not sell. In 2013, they opened that reserve to the market, and have allowed a steady trickle out onto the market. This 1996 was just released.
Luis Pato Quinta Ribeirnho Pe Franco 2011
Quinta Ribeirnho Pe Franco was a project so insane that only the a man like Luis Pato would have had the energy and IDGAF attitude to take it on. Ungrafted Baga vines planted on the beaches of Bairrada. The soils are so poor that each vine only produces a single bunch berries, essentially one glass of wine. Only a few hundred bottles of this wine are made a time (in 2011 they bottled 635, plus a few magnums).