Tag Archives: Campolargo

Baga me (Bairrada, Portugal – Day Two)

There are a small number of grape varieties can be set apart from all others. Their defining characteristic is that they can only be grown in a few specific parts of the world, and can only be made well in the best places by people who truly respect the partnership between the vine and the environment. Another of their defining characteristics is that they are the few that should always be made as mono-varietal still wines, and are also hugely influenced by the viticulturalists and winemakers who work with them. For white wines there is really only two in my humble opinion – riesling and chardonnay – although the latter is one of the most planted white varieties in the world. In terms of red wine there is a select group with a few knocking on the door. The outsiders are syrah, sangiovese and tempranillo, whilst the insiders are pinot noir and nebbiolo. There is one Portuguese variety that has been spoken about as joining this elite few, and that variety is baga. I agree that the variety has the potential to have the same silky tannins, delicate yet firm structure, and brightness of fruit that characterises the other two, but I need to taste more before I am certain it isn’t an also-run. I also believe the winemakers here need to get more experience, as they have only been making premium wines from this variety quite recently.
Above the vineyards of Campolargo in Bairrada, Portugal

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Campolargo – 10/07/2012

Vinha do Putto Branco 2010 (mostly verdelho)
Green fruit nose, apples and pears, some ripe lemon and mandarin. Good ripeness and character, not so crisp but fresh and full flavoured. Nice clean finish, uncomplicated white wine.

Branco Bical Barrica 2010
More sancerre white burgundy type aromas of barrel and lees, creamy malolactic butter. Bold texture not heavy, but looking a little flabby. Lacking in focus and drive, but not oppressive or lazy. Somehow the fruit has been a little bit overworked and has disappeared.

Branco Arinto Barrica 2010
Pretty rich yellow colour. Completely overoaked toastiness, too smoky toasty. Very ripe and bold, full and fruit sweet on the palate. Far too aggressive in the texture, might improve somehow but it seems unlikely considering the lack of balance. I can’t work out whether it is too traditional or too modern…

Entre II Santos Rose Pinot Noir 2010
Good texture balance freshness, nice acidity, clean red fruits, purity approachability, a very good example of a rose made from this variety. Great everyday drinking wine.

Entre II Santos Tinto 2009 (mostly baga, castellao)
Nice fairly rustic earthy herbaceous characters, warm slightly spicy nose, almost a mulled wine character. A touch hot and over extractive, aggressive in texture. Not heavy, good acids, but a bit strong on the palate, lacking subtlety. Quite cooked to be honest.

Pinot Noir 2008
Classic pinot noir aromas, nothing more to say. Actually very good, but perhaps not hard to see considering the resemblance to baga. Balanced elegant pure, not being interfered with at all, good extension on the palate, structure and potential for ageing. A very pleasant surprise.

Baga 2010
Slight volatile spice and alcohol aromas, dark red fruits, currants and blackberries. Quite light on the palate, fresh good acidity and length, nice depth, good structure, balance. Some spice elements, powerfuly and expressive but not hot or heavy. A little more subtlety would be nice.

Rol de Coisas Antiagas 2009 (baga, castellao, bastardo, trincadeira, souzao, alfrocheiro, tinta pinheira)
Wilder denser earthier darker, bolder yet more focused acids and tannins through the middle of the palate. Bigger and possibly more approachable for more consumers, more intense experience.

Castellao 2009
Wonderful aromas, very floral and beautifully fruity, very ripe. Heavy intense, very focused and powerful, huge expression but not heavy or alcoholic. Tannic yes, fruit yes, oak not interfering at all. A fascinating wine that requires more attention over the years.

Valdazar 2009 (trinca daira da bairrada, baga, touriga nacional, tinta barocca)
Hauntingly subtle aromas of red fruits and some creamy oakiness. Bright and quite fresh on the palate, not heavy but on the hot side, struggling to see fruit, what is the missing ingredient? More fruit? More maceration? Good drive and focus, healthy acids, but a little warm at the end.

Calda Boraleza 2008
Quite a subtle nose, very serious aromatics, classic Bordeaux like characters, perfect balance between the varietal blend. Great intensity, balance harmony, wonderful character and style. Expertly crafted example of the style.

Alvarelhao 2011
Exceptional character, truly authentic. Fresh acids, bright drinkable and eatable tannins, tight and intense, grippy and astringent in a really nice way, fruit in harmony with savoury characters. Outstanding with food.

Brut Rose 2009
Bairrada bubbles are really good.

Mr Campolargo himself

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