Vinha Pan Tinto 2017

Wine: Vinha Pan Tinto 2017

Remedy to a dry January (well almost …)

I hope, dear readers, that those of you who carried on enjoying wine during January (like any sensible person would) did not miss my weekly column too much.

I need to own up and admit that I did not do the full month, but I succeeded in staying dry up to last Sunday, January 29, making it a full four weeks without so much as a drop of wine, so I managed to convince myself this made it a full month.

It was on one of my first dry days early in January that I decided to visit Apolónia Supermarket and treat myself to something special with which to celebrate my month of abstinence and I knew it had to be a red from the Baga grape (my favourite Portuguese variety) from my favourite wine region, Bairrada. And, as it was to be for something of a celebration, it needed to be from ‘Mr Bairrada’ himself, Luís Pato.

As my fellow Baga/Bairrada lovers will know, these are reds that age beautifully. A few years ago, I attended a vertical tasting with Luís Pato and asked him at the time where I could buy some of his older vintages. He directed me to the online shop of Garrafeira Nacional and there I found two bottles of his 1985 vintage costing just €25 each. I snapped them both up and whilst one was totally oxidised and undrinkable, the other was outstanding, easily justifying the investment in the two bottles.

The Vinha Pan label comes from a small, south-facing vineyard with chalk/clay soil where half of the harvest goes to sparkling wine and the other half is harvested a few weeks later, usually in mid-September, giving this wine an unusually high concentration compared to most Baga reds.

The 2017, a great vintage for all of northern Portugal, is already drinking superbly; rich and mature dark berry fruit and leathery notes on the nose lead to great structure in the mouth with well-rounded tannins and a trademark dry Baga finish of length and finesse. Worth every cent of the €29.95 I paid for it.

By Patrick Stuart

[email protected]