An interesting project from Bairrada

I picked up this wine at my local Intermarché supermarket, thinking it was a Dão for some reason – maybe because it was placed next to the Dão wines on the shelf or perhaps due to the shape of the bottle. And then there was nothing on the label apart from the postcode of the producer to tell me what region of Portugal the wine hailed from.

Even when I opened it, I was still convinced it was a Dão, the medium-bodied structure and soft tannins being quite typical of modern wines produced in the region.

I liked it a lot, rich upfront berry fruits on the nose, smooth and rounded in the mouth with good freshness – all in all a very nice and easy-drinking red representing good value for money at the 9 odd euros I paid for it.

This is the first vintage from the producer who is, in fact, a Portuguese wine critic by the name of Tiago Teles.

So the story goes, he always dreamed of creating his own wine and here it is, from Bairrada it turns out, and made from a blend of Merlot, Castelão and Tinto Cão, the soft and ripe structure of the wine being the work mostly of the Merlot that always seems to do better in the Bairrada region than elsewhere in Portugal.

The boat on the label and the name of the wine are of the traditional sailing boat that belonged to his grandfather and on which he first learned to sail upon the Ria de Aveiro lagoon. His new voyage into winemaking looks set for some fair sailing.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]