Bairrada tastings at Portuguese Wine School & Bar Douro
My series of tastings for Portuguese Wine School & Bar Douro’s ‘in conversation’ with the winemakers series continue this month, focusing on Bairrada – a favourite region.
It is the home of Baga – the distinguished if difficult grape behind Portugal’s original single varietal reds. And makes fantastic whites and fizz (Portugal’s first method traditional was made here in the 19th century). “With its soils and temperate Atlantic climate, I am more and more convinced that Bairrada has Portugal’s best terroir” says Dirk Niepoort, whose cutting edge (he would say renaissance) wines I’ve included in the Portuguese Wine School line up.
Niepoort acquired a vineyard in Bairrada in 2012, whilst the Pato family have been there for generations. At Portuguese Wine School on Monday, 23 April, you’ll have the opportunity to taste mature wine – white and red – from the original Baga master, Luis Pato. And a ‘Post Quercus’ (amphorae-aged) Baga made for earlier drinking from his wine & food mad daughter and son-in-law, Filipa Pato and William Wouters, who I’ll be engaging in conversation over dinner at Bar Douro the following evening.
Here’s the low down:
Bairrada Masterclass at Portuguese Wine School – Monday 23 April
Not-to-be-missed, the line up includes mature wines and a fair few reds with ‘5’ in the vintage – for Luis Pato, a sure fire sign of a top vintage! And a rare fortified Baga from Quinta das Bageiras whose excellent wines are now being imported into the UK by The Portuguese Fine Wine Co.
- Vadio Bruto Espumante NV – an unusual but excellent solera-style NV, reviewed here.
- Campolargo Cerceal 2014 – his vineyards have a solid sprinkling of French grapes, but Carlos Campolargo does local rather well too…
- Niepoort Vinhas Velhas Bical Maria-Gomes 2015 – the fruit of aged vines – some +100 years old – is aged in 1000l foudres
- Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas White 2016 – with its red stablemate, Pato’s Vinhas Velhas cuvees are somm/wine list staples
- Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas White 1991
- Filipa Pato Post Quercus Baga 2015 – the oh so pretty amphorae-aged wine, reviewed here in a post about my visit with this power couple of Portuguese winemaking
- Niepoort Lagar de Baixo Baga 2015 – whole bunch and large format oak make for Niepoort’s Burgundian style of Baga
- Niepoort Poeirinho Baga 2015 – from the first vintage, this wine has reliably snagged at my heart strings
- Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Tinto 2013
- Casa de Saima Tinto 2005 – traditional Baga, foot-trodden and fermented in lagares, then aged in toneis
- Luis Pato Quinta do Moinho 2000 – Pato lays claim to making Portugal’s first single vineyard wines; de-stemmed and aged in French oak, some new, the Bairrada maverick adopted a new tack with Baga. How’s it looking 18 years later? We’ll find out, but check out this vertical tasting report for some clues!
Quinta das Bageiras Abafado 2004 – with Filipa Pato, Mario Sergio of Bageiras co-founded Baga Friends and have spearheaded the revival of fortified Baga which, since 2014, can claim DOC status. This small batch example is made with brandy spirit from estate grapes and aged for 10 years in barrel.
Where: the masterclass will take place at the usual address – at Old Spitalfields Market, 107B Commercial St, London E1 6B, but please don’t be confused by the name change from Taberna do Mercado to ‘OSM Bar.’
When: the class kicks off at 6.30pm on Monday, 23 April and costs £65, including supper and the wines of course. In a change to the previous schedule, supper will be served during my introduction to the region.
Bar Douro – when Belgium met Bairrada – in conversation with William Wouters & Filipa Pato – 24 April
I’ll be hosting a dinner upstairs at Bar Douro the following day in conversation with Filipa & William. Though it’s for press and trade and a handful of Bar Douro regulars, you can get a slice (or a splash) of the action at Bar Douro’s downstairs’ bar.
On the night of the event and for the following month, the Bairrada-focused specials’ board will feature the couples’ wines. And I suspect owner Max Graham will, once again, offer discounts and incentives – check out Bar Douro’s lively Twitter feed for the heads up.