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In the land of Bairros 09 May '19

There are just a few wine regions in Portugal that one can call "Wine Country", as António Augusto Aguiar , recognized teacher, political, scientist and author of several bibliographies of Chemistry and Enologia, claimed in 1867, referring to the amount of vineyards in Bairrada.

The recent history of "illos Barrios", or better, of Bairrada, where in each corner there is a place with the name “Bairro”, is intimately linked to the sparkling wines that are made there. But I want to speak to you about the red ones that have been made in that region, long before the cellars and the intention of producing the "Portuguese Champagne."

Last week I went to see how our wines are aging, in the barrels that we have there. Close to our wines, in Aguim, where the red wines were famous, it is said that the wines were elegant, balanced and with pH levels that rarely exceeded 3,4. If we think that the wines made in Baixo Alentejo are born with a pH close to 4, it is clear what I am talking about.  

Bairrada still produces red wines with unique freshness, capable of aging for decades, getting better with time, and that are not easily understandable. This freshness comes not only from the Atlantic influence, but also because of the calcareous soils and high pH, that helps reinforcing the character of the queen variety there planted.

This region, where the reds went through a bad phase - because they stop being appreciated - is now rejuvenated, with wines origination from the Baga variety, that are resembling more and more to those that gave fame to this region hundreds of years ago. These are wines that don't need much intervention of the winemaker, since their natural characteristics allows him to have little to do.

There are few regions in the world that can produce wines of these characteristics, and the ones that can, have a big difference in relation to the ones from Bairrada. For the same quality, we pay much less, or even half than, for instance, a good Barbaresco from Italy.

Hélder Cunha
The wine’s my life