Luis Pato Vinha Barrosa 2017
On tasting this, we see why Baga (the native Portuguese grape variety here) is often compared to Italy’s greatest red variety, Nebbiolo. Over a linear, grainy and firm tannic structure, dark berried fruit is layered. There’s a ‘hot earth’ undertone that’s so enticing and complex. Vinha Barrosa comes from a tiny 1.5 hectare vineyard of old vines in Bairrada, northern Portugal. Luis Pato has famously made his mark on the Baga grape, by destemming it and ageing it in French oak to outstanding effect.
Luis Pato is a bit of a legend in the wine world, and especially in Portugal. He’s a free thinking pioneer, responsible for the modernisation of Bairrada, a wine region in the north of Portugal. Not just celebrated for modernisation, he’s also a traditionalist, focusing on the region's indigenous varieties, most notably Baga. He took over his parents estate in the 1970s and his wines quickly caught the attention of wine journalists, taming the Baga grape usually known for being stern and uncompromising. His sparkling, whites and reds are absolute benchmarks.