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Bairrada, meaning “place of clay,” is located in the Beira province in the central coast of Portugal. The region is flat, with considerable climatic influence from the Atlantic. September rains are a regular part of the vintage in Bairrada, making the full maturing of the indigenous varietal Baga rather challenging. Despite the difficulties there are small growers that are committed to meeting the challenge and providing exposition of this unique terroir. These growers consider Baga to be an integral part of their cultural heritage and their DOC. Ataide Semedo is one of them.
Prior to this project, under-the-radar-winemaker Ataide Semedo has produced several of Bairrada’s best wines at Quinta da Dona and Quinta da Rigodeira. Ataide farms his 5-hectare vineyard that is split between white and red varieties. The red portion of the vineyard is split evenly between Baga and Touriga Nacional. Although Ataíde practices organic farming whenever he is able, he is matter-of-fact about the occasional necessity of employing anti-fungal treatments to save a vintage. A proud traditionalist, he is resolute about his winemaking path, and refuses to change to accommodate trends. We can see this even on the back label of his wine, where he lets us know he is “NOT ON FACEBOOK.”
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This wine, using absolutely no oak, evokes a crystal-clear, unadulterated transmission of Bairrada’s terroir and indigenous varietals. It has a rare combination of elegance and complexity.
2012 91WE, 2011 93W&S
50% Baga, 50% Touriga Nacional. Organically grown vines. Tended in limestone and clay soil at sea level.
While perfectly delicious on its own, this is a wine meant for food. The bright acidity begs for rich, robust food like barbecued lamb or pork. Also does beautifully with umami-laden dishes such as mushroom risotto.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Green harvesting is dependent on the requirements of the vintage. Ataíde rents a small, garage-like winery off a narrow side street in Bairrada where his wines are fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel. Bottled in July/August.
High toned, almost electric berry fruit, overlaid with soft skin tannins and a juicy acidity. Finishes long, with a distinct minerality and a touch of violet-tinged floral tones. Baga is famous for its longevity. This wine will age well for 20 or more years in a bottle.