Luis Pato Part 2: new Vinha Formal Cercial & Vinha Pan Baga 2013
Pato gave me the heads up about the new Cercial back in 2014 when he sent me a terrific example he’d made in 2011. The 2011 was a special tribute to Pato’s friend David Lopes Ramos; it was not intended for commercial release.
Incidentally, Cercial (known as Cerceal in the Dão and Douro) has no connection with Madeira’s Sercial.
Luis Pato Vinha Formal Cercial 2014 (Bairrada DOC)
Perfumed cedar oak runs the length of this wine, which may put some off, but it is elegantly done and this wine is young yet. Plus there’s plenty to excite interest beneath – pine resin-edged layers of steely grapefruit, pink grapefruit (on day 2), creamy golden delicious, firmer quince, lemon oil and rock salt. The whole is animated by beautifully integrated, rolling, very persistent acidity. Lingers long and, with no shortage of structure or concentration, looked very sprightly on day three. Very good. I expect it will age well. 12.5%
Luis Pato Vinha Pan 2013 (Bairrada DOC)
This single vineyard Baga comes from 35 year old vines from Pato’s Panasqueira vineyard on chalky clay soil. My review of the 2013 Vinhas Velhas Tinto flagged the relative lightness of this year owing to rainfall during harvest. It is evident in this single vineyard cuvée too, although Pan 2013 is more concentrated and complex than Vinhas Velhas Tinto 2013. The trade off is plenty of upfront expression. A fragrant nose has enticing pine needle lift with orange peel, blue smoke and liquorice as it opens up. Fleshy, sweet round fruit – red cherry and succulent blood plum – creates an overall impression of delicate fruit sweetness though, with its sooty tannins and mineral acidity, the finish is gently chalky, smoky and dry. Not the structure or depth of top years (look for a five in the year, says Pato), but it’s a lovely Baga nonetheless. 13%