WTN: Baga

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WTN: Baga

Postby Otto » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:04 pm

Caves São João Frei João Reserva 2001 - Bairrada
I think this is the first pure Baga I have had and I really enjoyed it. It seems unspoofy to me: lovely tar and wild berry aromas, floral - almost like a Nebbiolo, in fact. No oak aromas (it sees two years in stainless and one in bottle before release). High tannins and high acidity, and not much fruit sensations that would get in the way of all that loveliness. <ogre>Though, come to think of it, why would anyone want something so vulgar and obvious as fruit in their wine? Isn't the magic of wine that it transforms something as boring as fruit into something worthy of contemplation?</troll> Anyway, I thought this half of the bottle of was lovely; it will take quite a bit of effort for me not to finish the other half tonight as well.

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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Jenise » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:21 pm

So baga's the grape? Never had it before--could you compare it to some other grape(s) to give me an idea what you tasted (besides not fruit? :) ?

Great looking bottle, too; thanks for the pic.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Brian K Miller » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:12 pm

Does the Bairrada DOC mean the Baga grape, Oscar? If so, I'd enjoyed a wine labeled "Angelus" from Portugal which shared some of the merits of your bottle.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Keith M » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:19 am

Who's Oscar?

In any case, I agree that nebbiolo makes a pretty fair comparison. Though perhaps a tad different stylistically, Luís Pato is a producer worth seeking out for an expression of baga.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Joe Moryl » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:11 pm

Bairrada does not mean 100% Baga, although it may have in in past. I think the change was made to give producers more flexibility, since Baga is a notoriously difficult variely to work with and is said to only fully ripen in good years. It also produces a very tannic, structured wines that can be delightful with sufficient bottle age (or the appropriate winemaking regimen), prompting some comparisons with Nebbiolo.

For example, Aveleda makes a 100% Touriga Nacional labeled Bairrada (and the 2005 was pretty nice wine at its price point). And another inexpensive (ca. $6-$7 here) Bairrada is Quinta do Encontro's basic bottling which 90% Baga and 10% Merlot, and is made in a softer, more approachable style, while still maintaining some nice Baga character. But the really good reds are mostly Baga, e.g. Quinta das Bageiras, whose Garrifeira is mostly very old vine Baga with a dollop of Touriga Nacional (and that only recently). Frei Joao has been around a long time and, from what I understand, lost a lot of its vineyard sources. It may now be on the rebound. Oswaldo posted a nice report on this board describing his visit to the region sometime within the last year.

We don't get a lot of the more interesting Bairradas here in the US. Pato and Bageiras are probably the best bets for the US consumer. White and sparkling wines from this region are quite decent as well.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Otto » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:23 pm

Jenise, yes, Baga is the grape. Victor de la Serna provided a good wording for what this wine was like: "rustic Nebbiolo".

Who is Oscar? I've heard much about Pato but haven't ever seen them here.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:03 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Though, come to think of it, why would anyone want something so vulgar and obvious as fruit in their wine? Isn't the magic of wine that it transforms something as boring as fruit into something worthy of contemplation


You weren't kidding with that troll tag. Fruit is a component. If there's nothing but fruit then a wine can be rather boring. But let's take a fine Mosel Riesling, with lovely fruit elements, in addition to mineral elements, with some spice thrown in (think Urziger Wurzgarten), and try calling that vulgar. Some wines stray very far from fruit, and that can be interesting as well, but to portray fruit as vulgar and obvious paints with much too braod a brush, and so justifies your troll reference.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:23 pm

Keith M wrote:Who's Oscar?

In any case, I agree that nebbiolo makes a pretty fair comparison. Though perhaps a tad different stylistically, Luís Pato is a producer worth seeking out for an expression of baga.



Oops. Typo Typo Typo :oops:

Aveleda makes a 100% Touriga Nacional labeled Bairrada (and the 2005 was pretty nice wine at its price point).


I think this is the "Angelus" label producer.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Joe Moryl » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:59 pm

Brian K Miller wrote:
Aveleda makes a 100% Touriga Nacional labeled Bairrada (and the 2005 was pretty nice wine at its price point).


I think this is the "Angelus" label producer.


Close! Angelus is one of the Bairradas produced by Alianca, which is a fairly large producer based in that region. In the past few years they have become part of an even larger group, Bacalhoa. Aveleda is mostly based in the Minho and its most well know product is the mass-market vinho verde, Casal Garcia.

Just yesterday I drank a couple glasses of the basic Alianca Espumante Tinto with some leitao - sparkling red Baga. While it is not the best of its type, it is a nice, raspberry-tinged drink to accompany rich food.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:18 pm

Thanks, Joe For the clarification. I guess I coulda Googled! :lol:
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Alan Gardner » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:42 pm

For me, Baga is one of the great 'undiscovered' grapes - of the world (potentially). It wasn't common to find it on the label (until recently) but I've had 'many' (maybe a dozen) old Bairrada red wines, mostly from 1970 and 1974 (my last maybe 10 years ago) most of which were in excellent shape and often described as 'Garrafeira'. All were from the Baga Grape.

But the apex of Baga was/is the wines of the Bussaco Palace (near Coimbra), also in Bairrada, but made within the castle grounds itself (an old monastery). My last (consumed maybe 15 years ago) was the 1953, still in excellent shape (but realistically a bit past its peak).

Broadbent, in his Great Vintage Wine book specifically refers to these wines (but not the varietal), as being classed in the top tier (along with Barca Velha).

http://books.google.ca/books?id=KXAGHaf ... co&f=false

or more simply

http://tinyurl.com/32t85n8
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Joe Moryl » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:06 am

Alan,

If you like the wines from Bussaco Palace you should check out Oswaldo Costa's recent report. I mentioned it above, but here is the link: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=29681&hilit=Bairrada

While I respect Broadbent, I think his book as a bit behind the times when it comes to Portugal.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Alan Gardner » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:49 am

Thanks Joe,
A great report - and I admire the energy & work Oswaldo invested in that report (which I admit not reading in full, first time around).

On the Baga thing - my impression is that it mostly resembles Petite Syrah. They both seem to be in a 'struck dumb' phase for years, then suddenly open up as the tannins seem to disappear (almost) overnight. I also regularly drink the Pato Sparkling Baga - it's a great summer sparkler and has a little extra weight that (for me) matches perfectly with ham (in particular).

I'm not sure anybody (meaning English language correspondents, including Broadbent) are particularly strong on Portuguese wines. My theory is that Portugal needs an 'Ambassador Wine' to make many people sit up and take notice (e.g. Grange Hermitage (sic) assumed that role for Australian wines) and then the others can follow in the wake. That's why I referenced Broadbent, as the closest candidate to be that breakthrough wine was (not sure still is) Barca Velha, and at least Broadbent mentioned them both in the same paragraph. Plus it was easy to find on Google Books!

But, as always, I'm looking for 'good cheap' wine and right now I'm concentrating on Bairrada and Douro (although the prices of the latter are certainly creeping up).
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Joe Moryl » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:29 am

Alan,

I suggest you seek out a copy of The Wine and Food Lover's Guide to Portugal by Charles Metcalf and Kathryn McWhirter. This was a most useful guide on my 2009 trip to Portugal. More up to date than any other English source I know. The only issue is that it may not be officially distributed in N. America, but I got my copy from the UK via the web at a good price.

I'm also a big fan of Pato's sparklers, especially for the $11 which they cost here. Bairrada is known for espumantes in Portugal; the other producers sparklers are worth trying too.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:41 am

Alan writes from Toronto......"I'm not sure anybody (meaning English language correspondents, including Broadbent) are particularly strong on Portuguese wines".

True I guess but I do find Jamie Goode of wineanorak fame, as well as Sarah Ahmed the winedetective, have spent some time in the region so I rely on their expertise.
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Re: WTN: Baga

Postby Alan Gardner » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:57 am

Thanks for the references Joe & Bob.
I have noted Jamie Goode's reports in the past.
But, of course, our wonderful LCBO ensures that we only get what they deem we can drink here, although we have an excellent agent (FWP) who bring in some Private Imports - but all have to be purchased by the case, which either means I have to drink a lot, or restrict my selection (even the Pato wines are Private Imports).
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