Tag Archives: Sidonio de Sousa

Living on the edge (Bairrada, Portugal – Day One)

I could have picked a lot worse places to celebrate entering my fourth decade on the planet than Lisbon, a city that lives up to its status as a European capital city. Much alcohol and little sleep was enjoyed over the weekend, and many visits to the Bairro Alto part of the old town as well. Whilst it was nice having five days off from the wine as I celebrated my 30th birthday, it was almost relief to get back into the familiar territory of visiting wine regions. The only problem with that idea is the fact that I know almost nothing about Portuguese wine, even the most famous one of all, port. I’m always up for a challenge, and relished the chance to learn about a country not really appreciated outside their borders, mostly because they aren’t great at promoting their regionally distinct premium wines, and partly because most of the good stuff is consumed within the country. I chose to visit only three regions which represent the top quality wines and are all in the northern part of the country within Oporto, the second largest city. The first was the coastal region of Bairrada, which has been known for its sparkling wines for many years but is starting to gain recognition for its red wines made from the indigenous baga variety.
Traditional method sparkling wines at Sidonio de Sousa

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Sidonio de Sousa – 9/07/2012

Rose Brut Nature 2010 (two hours skin contact)
Very bright and fresh green red berries, hints of floral but actually quite herbaceous. Ripe ruby red fruits, impression of sweetness but its just the fruit. Light fresh, fairly broad for a traditional method sparkling wine. Quite an interesting profile.

Branco Brut Nature 2010 (bical, maria gomes, arinto)
Nice clean citrus nose, a little mineral influence, but very little autolysis. Bright fruity apples and citrus elements, clean pure and focused on the palate. Good balance and nice finish as well.

Tinto Brut Nature Baga Super Reserva 1999 (disgorged 2011)
Traces of large barrel aged oxidative influence and bottle age combination. Wonderfully ripe bright fruit, but without the dosage looks savoury, meaty and dry. Nice and soft and mellow, not at all heavy or cloying, tannins softened with age.

Reserva Baga 2008 (one year large old barrels, 2-3 years in bottle)
Rustic, a little wild, slightly smoky meaty, quite tight and closed, earthy herbal green influence, very shy fruit. Soft chewy juicy cooked tannins, bold full round, opulent and assured but quite different. Certainly designed for ageing, not showing amazingly at the moment. Certainly an influence from the fermentation process, slightly volatile.

Garrafeira Baga 2000
Wild earthy volcanic, complicated aromas, basalt flintiness, some liquorice and dried chrysanthemums. Dense bolder drier, much more mature (obviously), bolder and more powerful but not necessarily aggressive. Structure up the wazoo, but unique fruit characters.

The top wine, patiently ageing away, already 12 years old

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