Bairrada... The land of “Leitão” - Roast Suckling Pig
Portuguese wines are acclaimed all over the world, but did you know each region has a very distinct identity and taste???...
Those who have had the privilege of visiting Portugal know that one of the country’s most memorable treasures is its unique flavours. And for those who appreciate wine, the various Portuguese grape varieties and wine regions are simply unforgettable!!!
From North to South, the climate and geography of Portugal are quite different and so are the wines. The terroir of Portuguese wines is influenced by the sea and the mountains, different types of soil as well as the amount of rainfall... Nature was generous with Portugal and the quality of the wines produced reflects this rich diversity.
In the western part of the Beiras, between the mountainous Dão region and the surf-washed Atlantic beaches, Bairrada has a mild, maritime climate with abundant rainfall.
Flat in the west, the region rises in the east into small hills, intensively farmed and sometimes wooded.
This is the land of leitão, the delicious roast suckling pig, and also, traditionally, of firm red wines made from the Baga grape - red Bairrada used to contain a minimum 85% of Baga.
The traditional style of Bairrada still exists, sometimes labeled as “Bairrada Clássico” – and it can be one of Portugal’s most exciting wines in the hands of a skilled grower and winemaker.
Fully ripe Baga can make wines that are densely structured, complex, blackberry-fruited and aromatic, with marked acidity and firm tannins, and great ageing potential. Other growers have turned to alternative red Portuguese grapes such as Touriga Nacional but also, sometimes, international varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, all within the region.
Generally speaking, Bairrada wines can age extremely well, sometimes for more than 10 years, giving rise to a fine bouquet of honey, smoke and spice.
Other wine styles...
Bairrada also makes whites - from easy-quaffing flowery-aromatic examples to wines with mineral and citrus, that are often unoaked, and can be capable of ageing to creamy, intense complexity. Traditionally made principally from Arinto, Bical, Cercial and Maria-Gomes, Bairrada white blends may now also include Chardonnay or Sauvignon.
There are also a great many delicious bottle-fermented sparkling wines, from the traditional white trio plus sometimes Chardonnay, Baga, or muscatty-floral Maria Gomes. Some red sparkling wines can be found as well – particularly good with leitão!!!
Bairrada has a great heritage of traditional bottle-fermented sparkling wine production, a trend that is developing and increasing in the 21st century.
Main white grapes:
Arinto, Bical, Cercial, Sercialinho, Chardonnay, Fernão Pires (Maria Gomes) and Sauvignon Blanc
Main red grapes:
Baga, Touriga Nacional, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon
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