Grape 69: Baga

Snobby Veneer
Knowing lots about wine and grapes can certainly have its downsides. Snobbery and know-it-all-ism might just be the force of the wine world and, despite all the efforts of next wave wine nerds to disperse that perception, that perception lingers and wine remains in the realm of the experts. Fortunately, as an amateur, I’m not often troubled by that particular deficiency of knowing too much. And in the case of this wine it’s a really good thing.

Baga Who?, Baga What?
Had I known more about Baga, I would have thought that the wine was going to be extremely high in tannins, making it extra puckery and causing the tongue to become glued to the top of the mouth. In my mind, that’s the kind of wine that only becomes drinkable after a dozen years of shelving and in my household, where wines rarely make it a year, it just means the wine tastes “ick.” Fortunately, I knew nothing about Baga and jumped right into the bottle.

Taste of Ignorance
Like a truthful Pinocchio, the wine has almost no nose. Plenty of taste though, with blackberry and black cherries leading the charge and oak backing up the blackberry cavalry like a stout, noticeable infantry. Color is way darker than it tastes, which says a lot with the black fruits on the tongue. Medium to light body with a long smooth landing reminiscent of clear skies at JFK – drink now through Thursday.

Image h/t: http://www.luaazul.com

Detail Up!
Quinta do Encontro 2009 of Bairrada DOC from Beiras, Portugal

Random Googles:
* Bairrada isn´t the only famous DOC wine region in Beiras. Dão, maker of some of Portugal´s finest rustic reds, also hails from Beiras.
* Winemakers usually blend their Baga (presumably, because it’s so highly tannic) with mellower grapes like Merlot or Touriga Nacional.
* Baga became famed as the “Fake Port” before the British got pissed and demanded the pulling up of all the vines. Only in 1979 did Bairrada become part of the system of the DOC, making the wine Bigger and Baga.

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