Aliança Baga Clássico 2011
A true classic from the Bairrada region
Caves Aliança is one of the oldest names in the Bairrada wine business, originally founded in 1927 and since 2007 part of the Bacalhôa group. The Aliança name is perhaps best known for its sparkling wines, but their Quinta da Dôna vineyard near Sangalhos in the heart of the Bairrada region has long been known for the quality of its Baga grapes.
This wine is an interesting project in that the 2011 vintage was only recently launched on the market, when the winemaker considered it to be truly ready for drinking.
The use of the “Clássico” designation in the Bairrada region demands that a red wine is aged for at least 30 months before release, at least 12 of which in the bottle. In this case, after 14 months in new French oak the wine was bottle-aged for a good few years more.
This is the kind of treatment that good Baga deserves and this wine is certainly worthy being labelled as a classic. Open a few hours before serving and ideally decant to release the mature dark berry notes on the nose with hints of dark chocolate and leather from well-integrated oak.
The wine is full in the mouth with firm but smooth tannins and a vibrant acidity adding freshness.
At eight years old, it is already drinking beautifully, but I have no doubt that in another 10 years’ time it will be even better. Not cheap at €22.95 (Apolónia) but worth every cent.
By Patrick Stuart