This was a real find at my local Intermarché (Lagoa/Carvoeiro), an excellent quality Baga priced at just under €9. The producer, Sidónio de Sousa, is a small operation in the heart of the Bairrada region, producing truly authentic red wines and espumante natural (sparkling wines) from the Baga grape.
The reds, when young, can be pretty austere; the thick skins of the Baga variety giving the wines very firm tannins that need time.
This “reserva” is one of their mid-range labels, fermented in cement vats before initial ageing in steel for three months and then transferring to huge 4,000-litre used oak “tónel” barrels where it ages for a full year before bottling, and then a couple of years in the bottle before release.
This 2012 has had just about enough time in the bottle to start to show the elegance that makes Baga so special. There are dry red berry notes on the nose with hints of pine resin and coffee. Medium to full bodied in the mouth with good acidity and a firm, fresh finish.
By Patrick Stuart