Winemaker Dirk Niepoort is, of course, best known for his work in the Douro, as is the Niepoort family who have been making Port wine since 1842. But Dirk has spread his wings beyond the confines of the Douro valley and over recent years has added wineries in both the Dão and Bairrada regions to his ever-growing portfolio.
It was his love of the Baga grape, an indigenous Portuguese variety that has always been the backbone of the Bairrada region, that led him to search for parcels of old vines in the region, finally setting up Lagar de Baixo in 2012.
Baga wines are typically lighter in both colour and body than most Portuguese reds and lower in alcohol, as is the case here at 12.5%. The wine is made from a blend of grapes from old and younger (under 20 year old) vines and is a true expression of the variety.
After fermentation in stone vats, this 2012 vintage spent 20 months in used 225 litre casks, successfully resulting in a wine that is apparently unoaked but has well rounded tannins. On the nose there are ripe red fruit notes following through to a fresh and elegant flavour with good acidity. This is clearly a wine that will improve further after a few more years in the bottle. Around €15 in Apolónia and good wine shops.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]