More surprises from Quinta dos Abibes

Back in November, I wrote in this column about what I consider to be one of the best Sauvignon Blancs produced in Portugal from this same producer. In fact, I was so impressed that I bought a few more bottles and when I went back to Apolónia for more, it appeared I was not alone in my opinion as the wine had sold out.

I then tried to order a box online but soon discovered that it is completely sold out everywhere. In the past, I always associated this Bairrada producer mostly with their excellent sparkling wines, but the quality of this Sauvignon Blanc had got my attention, so I decided to try their red Reserva.

This is not a wine I would usually have picked up as I am a bit of a purist when it comes to Bairrada reds, which are mostly made from my favourite Portuguese grape Baga.

But this wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, an unusual blend. Once again, I was very impressed, the jammy fruitiness of the Cabernet Sauvignon comes to the front in a full bodied, smooth and luscious red that hits well above the price tag of €10.95.

All good so far, but last week, newly arrived at Apolónia is their premium white wine, 1792 Baga & Bical, costing just shy of €30. Given the quality of what I had tried so far, I decided to buy a bottle and was expecting to be wowed, but instead I was left feeling rather flat.

The wine is packaged in one of those very heavy glass bottles that some producers use to make wines feel expensive, something I have always found quite pointless and wasteful.

What is inside the bottle is a decent white wine, made from a blend of blanc de noire Baga with the white Bical grape. It is light in colour with not a great deal going on on the nose, apart from some subtle white fruit notes. In the mouth, there is good texture and firm acidity with a nice dry finish but, again, not a great deal of flavour.

I found myself wondering how the producer can justify charging a premium price for what appears to be a somewhat average wine. It seems to me that this otherwise impressive producer has lost the plot here.

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