WINES FROM BAIRRADA
In the western part of the Beiras region, between the mountainous Dão region and the surf-washed Atlantic beaches, Bairrada has a mild, maritime climate with abundant rainfall.
Although much of the Bairrada region is hilly, the majority of the vineyards are on flatter land. Vineyards are often divided into a multitude of small plots. There are two main types of soil: clay-limestone and sandy, each influencing style of wine.
Baga is the traditional local red grape. It makes tannic wines that can have high acidity if under-ripe, but if ripened and handled well the Baga can give rich, dense fruity reds that age into elegant wines of great complexity.
Since 2003, a multiplicity of other grapes has been permitted in DOC Bairrada wines – national grapes such as Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro as well as the international likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot.
Red Bairrada these days comes in a bewildering array of styles. Predominant amongst white grapes is the fragrant Maria Gomes, while Arinto, Bical, Cercial e Rabo de Ovelha can be made into steely, long-lived whites.
FOOD & WINE PAIRING
Baga, as a red wine, is an acquired taste for many as it’s not for the faint of heart. With the vibrant acidity and ample tannins of Nebbiolo, balanced by some nuances that are clearly more like Pinot Noir, it is absolutely magic with food.
Locally it is traditional to pair with rich suckling pig (and it is stupendous), elsewhere any other rich food will pair - from pork belly to duck, from rich pastas to ribs sticking stews.
Baga’s acidity enables it to pair with some seafood including squid and red-wine focused shrimp dishes.
Cheese-wise, it matches nicely with milder and high acid like goat cheese.
As a sparkling wine, the sky is the limit.