The wines of Luis Pato, Bairrada star

Luis Pato is perhaps the most famous face in Bairrada, even though he’s had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the regional authorities, that led him for a time to drop ‘Bairrada’ and move to labelling his wines as Beiras, the larger regional appellation.

Pato is known as a modernist, but he makes wines that [...]

The wines of Quinta das Bágeiras, Bairrada

Mário Sérgio’s Quinta das Bágeiras is one of the leading wineries in Bairrada. He created the domaine in 1989 from 12 hectares of vines he got from his grandfather, and grew it by a further 16 to its current size of 28 hectares spread over 10 different vineyard plots.

The wine style here marries a modern [...]

Filipa Pato and William Wouters: groundbreaking wines from Bairrada, Portugal

Filipa Pato is the daughter of Luis Pato, and she’s been making wine for a while now under her own name. But she really found her direction when she began focusing solely on Bairrada, and started working with her husband William Wouters, a Flemish dude (from Antwerp) with a background in the restaurant business. With [...]

Quinta de Baixo, Bairrada, with Dirk Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort has long been interested in the terroirs of Bairrada. He thinks that the combination of the chalky clay soils and the Baga grape variety makes this potentially the best terroir in Portugal, even though he acknowledges that in many respects the region is a bit messy. ‘It is not the easiest variety in [...]

Tasting the wines of the Buçaco Palace Hotel, one of Portugal's treasures

The Buçaco (Bussaco) Palace Hotel is one of Portugal’s most striking bits of Neo-Manueline architecture. It’s almost impossibly ornate, with incredibly elaborate stone carvings rammed in just about everywhere. But despite its over-the-top nature, it’s quite magical. Originally there was a convent on this hilltop site, but the current building was constructed as a palace [...]

Tasting the debut (2000) wines from Quinta de Chocapalha, Lisboa, Portugal

It was a real treat to try the first two wines made from this domaine. Back in 2002 I attended a dinner in the Douro at which several winemakers gathered to present their work. At the time, Sanrda Tavares was the winemaker at Quinta do Vale D Maria, working alongside Cristiano van Zeller. She brought [...]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2015

Quinta do Noval have lately become known for what the English wine trade describe quaintly as ‘eccentric’ declarations. They released a vintage Port in 2013, for example. Now they’ve released 2015. It’s not a surprise, because 2015 was a really good vintage, and I’m surprised more people haven’t declared it. Of course, these days there’s [...]

Sidecar Tinto NV Portugal: a bi-regional, amphora-aged beauty

This is a lovely wine. It’s a collaboration between Susana Esteban (who works in the Alentejo), and Filipa Pato and William Wouters (who work in Bairrada). Half of the wine comes from Portalegre in the Alentejo, and half is Baga from Bairrada. It’s made in amphora.

Susana created the Sidecar brand with a view to working [...]

Quinta do Monte d'Oiro, Lisboa, Portugal

Monte d’Oiro translates as mountain of gold, and it refers to the golden colour taken in early evening by the hill on which many of the vineyards are planted. The vineyard is in the Alenquer sub region, with the Atlantic 20 km to the west and Lisbon 50 km to the south. Climate is Mediterranean [...]

Two lovely naturally made reds from Portuguese winemaker Tiago Teles

A while back, Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wine sent me some samples to have a look at. Ben and I agree pretty much in terms of our palate preferences, I’ve found, and so it’s always good to taste things that he’s unearthed. He seems to have an amazing talent for finding great producers, and sometimes [...]