Never tasted a wine produced from the Baga varietal? We’ve included this textbook example from one of Portugal’s best producers as the perfect introduction.
Baga is a grape that grows primarily in the coastal influenced region of northern Portugal called Bairrada. The vineyards lie about 20-30 kilometers off the Atlantic coast. For years growers debated whether it was worth it to grow this finicky red grape variety, as it needs careful farming. It is a highly productive vine, and the grape itself has lots of acidity as well as powerful tannins in its grape skins.
Yet Baga is a beloved grape variety by many, including myself. It can produce some of the most complex and age-worthy wines of Portugal. It often reminds the drinker, especially with age, of Nebbiolo.
Quinta das Bágeiras is one of my favorite producers in all of Portugal. Across the board, their sparkling, white, and red wines are all a pleasure to drink and offer incredible value.
The new release of the excellent 2017 vintage Tinto Reserva is a blend of predominantly Baga, with some Touriga Nacional blended in. While Bágeiras isn’t the oldest winery in Bairrada, they work in traditional methods. This red is a telling example. The grapes are fermented without destemming in open top lagares. The wine is punched down several times a day until there is the appropriate intensity and tannin. The wine finishes its fermentation in old wooden barrels. It is aged for 18 months in those same barrels. There is no fining or filtering of the wine.
2017 was a warm vintage, and this Tinto Reserva shows its intensity. Notes of black cherry, tobacco leaf, dried shiitake, and spice on the nose. The palate is both fresh and slightly tannic at the same time. This really lingers on the palate with fruit and earth notes. Decant this wine, or drink the bottle over a couple days. It is a terrific wine for the table. PLEASE NOTE - for those looking for great values that can age, this is one that drinks well now, but will age in bottle for over a decade.
Quinta das Bágeiras
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