April 27, 2022 2 min read

Country: Portugal
Appellation: Bairrada

 

Beef or Salmon? This is not on offer here, rather jaw dropping wines made from grape varieties that most of us have never heard of.

When the buying team turned the spotlight on Portugal, we were not sure what was going to surface. Tuning into our network we started asking around as to who was really pushing the boundaries and making the best examples from their regions.  Luís Pato, was one name that kept on popping up so we naturally followed up and wow!

A little background: The Pato family has been producing wine at Quinta do Ribeirinho since, at least, the eighteen century. João Pato started to bottle the wine from his vineyards in 1970, becoming the first winegrower in Bairrada region after its demarcation. His son Luís Pato inherited this non-conformist and pioneer spirit and in 1980 produces his first wine, a pure Baga from an exceptional quality and absolute rareness that is sought by collectors.

 

In 1985 begins two revolutions at Bairrada:  Luís destems his Baga grapes and matures the wine in new French oak casks. In 1988 he plants Baga from ungrafted vines to understand pre-phyloxera wines and produces the first Vinhas Velhas’ wine from Portugal. In 1995 produces wines from single vineyard: Vinha Pan, Vinha Barrosa and Quinta do Ribeirinho Pé Franco. In 1998 he buys Vinha Formal to produce his top white wine from this single vineyard. In 1999, by personal choice, leaves DOC denomination, and labels his wines as Regional Beiras. In 2001 he makes his first «harvest of precision», picking from the same vineyard at the end of August to the production of the sparkling wine, and at the end of September to the production of a more concentrated red wine.

Suffice to say this is one of the most exciting family wineries in Portugal if not on the whole Iberian Peninsula. Get ready to try 100% Bical in the Vinha Formal 2020, fermented and matured in new Allier oak casks during 8 months to be dished up with roasted fish in the oven, cod-fish, shellfish, sushi and also soft sheep cheese.  Or 100% Baga in the Vinha Pan 2019 to be dished up with duck and red meats. To keep for more than fifteen years…..

 

Simply these are cutting edge wines that seriously deserve a diversion from the main wine highway!

 

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