Fitapreta Baga Ao Sol
Antonio Maçanita, as he is wont to do, makes wine with a wink and a nod to tradition, and manages to create something that is both classic and completely new. Baga ao Sol exemplifies this almost impish attitude toward winemaking, much like its sister project, the Touriga Vai Nua. With both of these wines, the objective is to take preconceived notions of a grape’s capability and profile, and subvert them into something completely new, all while maintaining the classic integrity and hallmarks of the variety. With Baga ao Sol, Antonio has taken the coastal grape Baga, which is known as the “Portuguese Nebbiolo,” and made it in a way that is “plein du soleil,” or full of sun. Rather than the hard tannin and bracing acidity of its normal expression, Baga ao Sol is soft, bright, and full of generous fruit. Not simply a caricature, this is a new way to look at Baga, with all of its details retained.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This is another example of Antonio Maçanita’s ingenuity and intellectual curiosity. He has taken a grape best known for its power and ageability (and less revered for its character in its youth), and rendered it approachable, ripe, and generous –all while still being unmistakably Baga.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 92WA, 90WA
GRAPE: 100% Baga. Vineyards on average 30 years old. Tended in schist and rock at 350m (1148 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: The fresh acidity, floral notes and red fruit make Baga a perfect pair with lamb and game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Small plots of vines growing on sub-zones of infertile rocky schist soils, which naturally produce low yields of concentrated healthy fruit characterized by deep aromatic intensity. After prolonged monitoring, the bunches are selectively handpicked into small boxes at the peak of tannin ripeness. All bunches entering the winery are passed over a sorting table and subjected to intensive quality control. The grapes are gently crushed and moved by gravity into temperature regulated vats. Both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation occur naturally with no inoculation.
PRODUCTION: 615 cs (6pk)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The Alentejo is a large region in southeastern central Portugal, which is one of the agricultural centers of the country. The climate is Atlantic-Mediterranean, with significant diurnal-nocturnal temperature differences. This temperature range produces fruit with a natural combination of maturity and freshness. The Alentejo sees 3,000 hours of annual sunshine and 600mm of annual rainfall, less than 15% of which falls during the growing season. These vineyards are planted to rocky schist at 300-400m elevation asl.
TASTING NOTES: Deep ruby-garnet. On the nose, telltale aromas of sour cherry, leather, purple and red flowers, and leather – classic Baga. On the palate, bursting with generous, fresh red fruit – cranberry, sour cherry, and strawberries – comingled with floral notes, a savory rear palate, and a persistent beam of minerality. Fresh, juicy, and ripe without being cloying, and dangerously easy to drink.