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Friday retro-post: my guide to Bairrada DOC/Beira Atlântico VR

Human dynamo Luis Pato

It’s been a bit of a Bairrada month.  Filipa Pato and William Wouters can take a bow for my White Wine of the Month, Nossa Calcario Bical 2015.  In Wednesday’s post, I took at look at verticals of Luis Pato’s Vinhas Velhas, white and red.  On 21 September, watch out for my post about Luis Pato’s new Cercial Vinha Formal 2014.  So in today’s retro-post I thought it good timing to remind you about my Bairrada DOC/Beira Atlântico VR wine guide – it’s not all Pato!

This post was originally posted in May 2015 and I have updated it to include a few new developments/producer references.

Following up on my guides to the Douro and Vinho Verde, today I’ve posted the third of my free online Portuguese wine guides, this one focused on Bairrada DOC/Beira Atlântico VR.  It’s a region which, at least from an international perspective, once relied upon the doughty and dynamic Luis Pato to persuade us of its outstanding quality potential.  These days, you can count the number of high fliers in double digits.

Their number includes Douro/Port man, Dirk Niepoort, who told me “with its soils and temperate Atlantic climate, I am more and more convinced that Bairrada has Portugal’s best terroir.”   It explains why Niepoort acquired Quinta de Baixo in 2012.

With this influx and increased focus on quality, while the common thread is Atlantic freshness, the region’s potential is now being realised through an sophisticated range of wine styles.

Old, large wood – toneis – at Quinta das Bageiras

Traditional open cement vats at at Quinta das Bageiras for fermentation on stems

Take a peek in the wine cellars and spot the difference between the traditionalists and modernistas (though the best of the latter cleverly combine the old and new to great effect).

Rolling the barrel for batonnage at Filipa Pato

New/old open fermenters at Filipa Pato for a touch of whole bunch ferment

Take a peek at the bottles and, while Baga remains king, Bordeaux reds, white and sparkling wines are excellent too.


Camplolargo’s label gives away the varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot

In my nutshell Guide to Bairrada & Beira Atlântico you’ll find my take on what makes the region tick in terms of climate, soils, grape varieties and producers. You’ll also find producer recommendations.

I hope you find it useful and stay tuned because there are more regional guides to come!  What’s more, I’ll be regularly reviewing them to add exciting new finds and snippets of information.

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