Bairrada Wine Region Guide

Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Bairrada's Wine Culture


Last updated: November 27, 2023


Bairrada has spent the last 12 years refining its vinous offer. Situated north of Portugal’s handsome capital Lisbon, Bairrada was not held in great esteem in the 20th century. However, its signature red grape, Baga, was cropped at high yields and handled, shall we say, in a very rustic manner; these uncompromising wines had more astringent tannin than a truckload of unripe Sangiovese!

Fortunately, visionaries like Luis Pato understood that Bairrada would slide into obscurity unless the region changed its ways. So, perfectly timed to coincide with Portugal’s entry into the global stage, Pato fashioned a new style of red Bairrada that would appeal to hipster sommeliers and their trend-conscious clientele. It is reminiscent of Burgundy in its red fruit bouquet, freshness, and elegant tannin. Aromatically expressive and very pretty, it is a wine built for the modern age. Today, Bairrada continues to export ever-growing volumes of premium Baga: wines of supreme elegance and complexity from this trendy grape. Portuguese wine lovers prefer their wines to have moderate alcohol and approachable tannin (we agree with them), although good Baga will improve in bottle for over a decade.

Nevertheless, you can drink Baga young, old, or anywhere in the middle; enjoy it with food or without, and you can get a fantastic wine for the price of an entry-level Burgundy. It is where people graduate when tired of the same old choices and ubiquitous varietals. And it’s delicious.
Yet Bairrada is producing some excellent white wines as well. The local pale-skinned grape, Bical, is Portugal’s answer to the Sauvignon Blanc craze. But it’s a tad more interesting.


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James lawrence

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