A great Bairrada but it’s not a Baga
Last week I was prompted by a fellow contributor to this newspaper to write about some cheaper wines, so this week I have gone full circle, all the way back up to the top shelf, having tried this Quinta dos Abibes Sublime 2011, costing €39.95 at Apolónia.
I am not, however, guilty of having paid for it in this case. The bottle was given to me at Christmas by a generous wine-loving relative, but I had often looked at it on the shelf at Apolónia in the past and the only reason I had not yet bought a bottle is that it is made from Touriga Nacional, not usually one of my preferred grape varieties.
The Bairrada region for me, until now, has always been about my favourite Portuguese wine grape Baga, so when I do decide to part with a significant amount of money to buy a top-shelf Bairrada, I usually choose a Baga.
This last weekend, however, I was looking for something a bit special to enjoy with a nice Beef Wellington we had cooked at home, so I decided to give this Touriga Nacional a try, and I was very impressed. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is probably the best Touriga Nacional varietal I have yet tried, a truly great wine that justifies the high price tag.
I opened it a few hours before serving, and decanted it carefully, to discover that it had thrown no sediment at all.
On the nose, there are mature dark berry notes, along with hints of leather and the trademark violet aromas of Touriga Nacional. In the mouth, it is full bodied yet seductively elegant with great freshness and well-rounded tannins. But it is the finish, as is often the case with great wines, that really makes this wine stand out – a deep and delicious flavour that lingers on the palate.
By Patrick Stuart