Luís Pato / Baga-Maria Gomes

I could be accused of giving Luís Pato too much exposure in this column, but, that said, I am always on the lookout for wines that are in some way new or different and this Bairrada producer, one of the true stars of Portuguese winemaking, never ceases to impress me.

I spotted this new rosé in my local Intermarché supermarket priced at around €5 and the duck logo ensured it found a place in my shopping trolley.

It was only upon getting the bottle home that I noticed that it is in fact a blend of red and white grapes – the first time I believe that a rosé has been made using this method in Portugal. Many winemakers frown upon this method of making rosé but the fact is that most of the great pink Champagnes are made in exactly this way; blending a red wine with around 20% of a white before the second fermentation to create the bubbles.

This enables the producer to create a highly consistent product but, until recently, it was technically illegal in Europe for still rosé wines.

New World producers, however, have been flooding the market with rosé made using the “rosé de assemblage” technique for many years and some producers of still rosé wine in Europe are starting to follow suit.

The red wine in this blend, made from the traditional Baga variety of the Bairrada region, is produced using the “vin gris” method, meaning a grey wine in French, whereby the grapes are pressed and the juice extracted immediately, unlike the usual rosé method whereby the juice is left in contact with the skins to take on more colour. The resulting pale pink wine is blended with a small proportion of white made from Maria Gomes (better known as Fernão Pires elsewhere in Portugal).

This is a very good rosé representing outstanding value for money. Unlike many of the pale pink rosés currently on the market imitating the fashionable “Provence” style, this wine has real depth of flavour. On the nose it is quite subtle but in the mouth surprisingly full in structure with the fruitiness of the white wine balancing out the typical dryness of the Baga.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]