True elegance from the Baga grape

With lockdown upon us once again and hence being deprived of pleasures such as eating out, it is only fair to treat ourselves to a special wine from time to time, something perhaps that we would not usually drink at home save on special occasions.

So, over the past two weeks, I have been paying a bit more attention to top-shelf wines, which tend to cost anything north of €30 a bottle.

With some lovely veal chops ready for the BBQ last weekend, I was looking for a red of medium body, something of elegance. A nice Pinot Noir, ideally a decent Burgundy would have done the trick nicely, but I wanted something made from a Portuguese grape here in Portugal, so it had to be a Baga.

Nossa Calcário is one of the premium labels from Filipa Pato, a wine that she makes together with her husband and hence the name meaning “ours”. This is an excellent example of what can be done with the Baga grape, without necessarily needing the prolonged ageing that Baga varietal wines traditionally require.

This wine is from the outstanding 2017 vintage, currently available at Apolónia costing €31.95.

The wine is aged in used French and Slovenian barrels, the oak being almost undetectable. This is definitely a wine to decant an hour or two before serving to allow the layers of dark fruit aromas and flavours to come to the front.

On the palate, it is elegant and fresh yet there is a surprising underlying power and structure for a wine of medium body and a dry, persistent finish.

This 2017 is already drinking very well but, to reach its full potential, we may have to wait for quite a few more years.

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