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Still young, and crying out for the rich and fattier dishes the baga grape complements so well, this is an elegant red from Portugal's Bairrada region and a small family-owned estate, with cherry and raspberry fruit and firm tannin structure.
Product Code: QVT-PW7911
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
The varied regions of Portugal mean there is no single picture at harvest time. As in other parts of Europe, a damp spring led to widespread mildew, cooler flowering than conditions than normal, reducing yield, and summer drought. This delayed ripening and the start of harvest, and meant that September rain was welcomed more warmly than usual. Volumes are down in some cases but not dramatically.In the Douro the combination of heat and vine stress over the summer meant it was a challenging year for the DOC wines but extremely promising for Ports. In the Alentejo, harvest started about a fortnight later than usual with the double challenges of uneven ripeness and low acidity (in an area of high summer temperatures where acidity is generally not high anyway).The 2016 viticultural year in the Douro started well with a wet winter, double the rainfall of the previous year. Unexpectedly wet weather carried on through April/May causing the river to be in full spring flood and unnavigable. June and July were normal summer weather, August unusually hot with rain at the month end. Some picking was delayed until late September and finished in the first week of October. Some very fine quality Ports will be produced.
"The Society's tasting notes are spot on. It's a medium bodied wine with strong tannins and some acidity. This makes it less accessible and definitely one for food. I would like to taste it again in a few years when it may have mellowed. "
I would recommend this wine
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Saga Magazine (22nd Aug 2019)
"… beautifully complex
with a bright tang to its red fruit. Think of a fresher Rioja - one that lets
the fruit sing, not drown in oak. - Joe Fattorini"
"Colour: Medium intense cherry red.
Aroma: Cherry, raspberries, blackcurrant, blueberries, herbs, tobacco, slight hint of smoke and tar.
Taste: Dry, soft matt tannin, lively acidity but a bit weak and thin. The cherry, mint and tobacco flavours are a little tart followed by a smooth peppery med+ finish.
Overall: Subtle and lighter than I expected. Nothing overpowering, nice nose and I do like the nice mix of fruit and oak but it lacks in both body and flavour. A little disappointed at this price and I wouldn't buy it again. "
Mr Gabriel Higgins (16-Sep-2018)
"Fine.... But not £11.95 worth. Soft sour cherry fruit as described, little bit of grip on the end, but not much else. Just not enough depth or interest for me for the price."
Mr Daniel Chaquico (21-Feb-2018)
"Dunno, this has the deep plummy taste typical of a Portuguese wine, with added woody/tar element. But it seems to lack body, just seems a bit thin"
Mr Matthew Utting (05-Jan-2018)
"Solid wine. More to full body than medium. A good example of the bags variety. Dark in colour and with a nose of dark fruits, needs a bit of time as it's not fully open. Powerful wine. Had it with traditional Portuguese salt cod. It will go well with rich stews."
Mr Rafael Goncalves (02-Apr-2017)
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