The vineyards of Bairrada

THE WINES OF BAIRRADA

This traditional wine region, located between 2 important historic cities: Coimbra, home to Portugal’s oldest University and Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal. At the mercy of the weather fronts coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, and in the shadow of the Caramulo and Bussaco Mountain, Bairrada is bordered to the south by the River Mondego, to the north by the River Vouga, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east by the Mountains of Buçaco and Caramulo.

These factors are what make Bairrada an exceptional geographic area with a unique climate and a special terroir, dominanted by clay soils. The Bairrada territory is steeped in history and culture and includes a variety of landscapes, packed, within the space just a few kilometres, with a distinct and remarkable places.

Baga, the native varietals old vines

Wine production Bairrada dates back to at least the Roman period and more specific evidence of this production happened in high Middle Ages. Despite its long history of wine production, Bairrada was only officially recognised as a demarcated wine-growing region in 1979. A flat, coastal region that develops along a maritime coastal strip, with a marked Atlantic influence, abundant rainfall and mild average temperatures. The soils are mainly limestone and clay with some sandy outcrops which produces different styles according to the predominance of each element. The area s divided into thousands of small plots which produces an exciting range of wines: from tradional method sparkling wines to whites, reds and even fortified wines.

It was one of the first Portugal region’s to develop and explore sparkling wines, a style that is still cherished in the region where two different philosophies coexist: the classic style wines, mainly based on the Baga grape variety, alongside the new bairradino wines, based on a variety of native and international grape varieties, including the international ones Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

The predominant white grape variety is Fernão Pires (known as Maria Gomes in the region), followed by Arinto, Bical, Cercial and Rabo de Ovelha. The reds are dominated by the Baga grape variety, followed by the Alfrocheiro, Tinta Pinheira and Touriga Nacional varieties. With a lot to offer in terms of gastronomy, from the fish of the Atlantic to the local specialty suckling pig (Leitão)

THE WINES

The best soils for vines are the typical clays and clayey soils with a higher or lower limestone content, producing the best, quality grapes. They are wines with a strong personality and pure flavours.

The recognition of Bairrada as a wine region began with the production of red wine. However, the white wines have had an important role over the last century, mainly in the production of white sparkling wines in which Bairrada was pioneer in Portugal. The first production of sparkling wines started in 125 years ago, pioneered by Eng. Tavares da Silva in a property that now houses the head office of the Bairrada Winegrowing Station. Tavares da Silva is famous for bringing the principles making sparkling wines by the Champagne method (the classic method of bottle-fermentation).

Bairrada wines, rich and full of soul, are the emobodiment of the plentiful land where they are produced, add to this the a fascinating variety within a single region, Baga, more than any other grape variety, create a basis for exciting sparkling, rosé and red wines.

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