Kompassus – A new brand from an old name in Bairrada

When I saw the labels of these wines in Apolónia, my initial thought was that there must be a German link, an impression created no doubt by a combination of the somewhat austere label design and the spelling with a K. But, as it turns out, this is a totally Portuguese project with its roots embedded very deeply in the Bairrada region.

Owner João Póvoa is an ophthalmologist from Coimbra who has long been involved in Bairrada wines, most notably at his Quinta de Baixo estate which he sold in 2007. But he kept hold of some of his best vineyards and went on to launch a new winery under the Kompassus label, joining forces in 2012 with one of the great names in Portuguese wine, Anselmo Mendes, who is most famous for his work with the Alvarinho grape up in the Minho.

There are a few different wines from this producer on sale at Apolónia and I was particularly impressed with the red reserva 2013 priced at €14.95. Made from 90% Baga with 10% Touriga Nacional, this is a smooth and elegant medium- to full-bodied red representing excellent value for money.

As for the whites, I tried both the Verdelho and Alvarinho varietals from the 2014 vintage. The latter, as expected what with Anselmo Mendes being involved, is very good, if perhaps a little overpriced at €17.95. The Verdelho, however, although very pleasant and easy drinking, was a little lacking in acidity and did not have the floral notes on the nose that I would associate with this grape. I also recently tried their espumante, an excellent and bone dry blanc de noir sparkling wine made from Baga, Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir – well worth the price tag of €15.95.

By Patrick Stuart
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