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In the land of the Bairros

9 de May, 2019

There are few wine regions in Portugal that can be called "Wine Country", as stated in 1867 by António Augusto Aguiar, a renowned professor, politician, scientist, and author of several bibliographies on Chemistry and Oenology, referring to the vineyard area in Bairrada.

The recent history of "illos Barrios", or better, of Bairrada, where in every corner there is a place with the name bairro, is closely linked to the sparkling wines that are made there. But I want to tell you about the red wines that have always been made in this region, long before the wineries were installed there and the intention to produce the "Portuguese Champagne".

Last week I went to see how our wines were aging, in the barrels and casks we have there. Nearby, in Aguim, where the red wines were famous, the story says that elegant, balanced wines were made with a pH that rarely exceeded 3.4. If you think that the red wines from Baixo Alentejo are born with a pH close to 4, you can understand what I am talking about.

Bairrada still makes red wines with a unique freshness, capable of aging for decades, improving with the passage of time, and which are not for just any "beak". This freshness comes not only from the Atlantic influence that is felt there, but also from the limestone soils and high pH, which help to reinforce the character of the queen variety planted there.

This region where red wines have had a hard time of it - as they are no longer loved - is now rejuvenated, with wines originating from the Baga grape variety, which increasingly resemble those that made the region famous hundreds of years ago. These are wines that don't need much intervention from the winemaker, as their natural characteristics allow those who make them to do little.

There are few regions in the world that can produce wines with these characteristics and those that can have a big difference in relation to Bairrada wines. For the same quality, we pay less than half of what, for example, for a good Italian Barbaresco.

Hélder Cunha

My life is the wine

Alguma questão ou sugestão de tema? Por favor, escreva para: blogdoenologo@cascawines.pt

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