Baga grape variety is a grape which is exclusively used in the process of red wine making and comes from the central coast of Portugal.
This grape is a dark skinned grape and it is particularly present in the Bairrada region of Portugal, where the number of Baga vines, far outnumber the plantations to any other region in the world.
Baga grape variety is one of the best and the highest yielding Portuguese variety of grape, planted largely in the DOC region of Bairrada.
Though this area is quite famous for these grapes, the other areas like the Beiras, which includes the Ribatejo and the Dão region, are also quite famous for this varietal of grape.
This variety is often blended with other red wine grapes to produce a fine and a full bodied wine.
History of Baga Grapes
Historically, Barraida region of Portugal was the biggest sources of dark, dense wines that were used to stretch the supply of the port wines, by deliberate mislabelling on the bottle, or by blending the wine into the ports that were to be shipped, such that the producers could meet the booming demand from England and the surrounding states.
As a result of this, the prime minister of Portugal ordered the tearing up of the vineyards of the Barriada region in order to keep up the status of the Port region.
Even in 1908 when the Portuguese government was doing the groundwork for the appellation system, the region of Barriada was excluded, which was only given a due consideration after heavy influencing of the locals.
In the year 1979, this grape got its due, and from then on, a large portion of the land in Portugal is under this grape cultivation.
Portugal, being a land where blends are favoured, each region will have its borders decorated with different varieties of grapes.
As far as Barraida is concerned, this region is heavily into the development of the Baga grape almost to the tune of 25000 acres of land being occupied by it, as of 2004.
Characteristics of Baga Grape
When it comes to the external features, Baga grapes are small, thick-skinned dark coloured grapes which contain high tannin levels and high amount of acidity.
The Baga grapes have got their name from the local dialect, where baga means a berry.
This wine is best suited for clay soils and it requires a good amount of sunlight for better growth.
Baga grapes are highly susceptible to rot, especially when the cold rainy seasons begin.
These grapes are known for an extensive foliage production and they often need to be pruned for a quality growth.
As mentioned, Baga grapes grow well in the dry warm climate. This climate is extremely important as Baga grapes tend to ripen late.
If the climate is cool, the berries won’t be able to achieve their phenolic ripeness. Baga grapes are one of the easier varieties to cultivate and they help produce high quality wines having a high level of acidity.
The high level of acidity also ensures that the grape can be harvested late without worrying about the wine getting baked or tasting flat.
Baga grape shows a high resistance to the powdery mildew, but not so much in the damp conditions. This grape, though, due to high susceptibility to rot, needs to be well taken care of, else it might just result in increased levels of tannin, higher acidity and spoiling the overall feel of the wine.
A good proportion of Portugal’s Baga crop is utilized in the production of Mateus Rosé, a popular medium-sweet rose wine from the region.
Aromas and Flavours of Baga Wine
Baga wines have a deep colour and lean, rich, high acid, tannic structure with clear flavours of black plums, berries tobacco, hints of coffee and smoke.
On the nose, this wine gives the aroma of crushed blackberry, leather, cola, black cherry, tart red currant and dark tobacco.
On the palate, this wine gives the flavours of black cherry, wild berries, cola and black leather.
Food pairings with Baga Grape
This wine really goes well with European, Asian and American cuisine.
It pairs well with mild cheeses like feta and goat and goes well with items like the samosa and spring rolls.
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂
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