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Vadio Bairrada Espumante Brut
Though viticulture has existed in this region since the Moor withdrawal in the 10th century, Bairrada gained recognition in the 17th century when it became a critical supplier to Port producers who needed juice to meet the ever-growing demand in Britain. In the centuries that followed, Bairrada dropped off the wine map; vignerons sold their juice in bulk or made wine for personal consumption. Luís now grows grapes for the Vadio project on land passed down through his family, as well as on a parcel of purchased land.
Vadio grows on two very distinct vineyard blocks: Rexarte and Barrio. The Rexarte vineyard features sloping westerly exposure and sandy loam soil. On .3 ha, Luis planted an experimental plot of various white varieties including Encruzado, Arinto, and Verdelho. They also have slightly larger plot of .5 ha planted to Cercial and Bical, their mainstay white cépages. In 2009, Luis purchased an equal sized .5 ha parcel of clay and sand soils to which he planted his red grape, Baga. The Barrio vineyard exhibits calcareous clay soil from the Jurassic Period. It’s actually split into two vineyards: the old portion called Barrio Belho, and a new portion planted in 2007, Barrio do Forno. Barrio is where the lion’s share of Baga grows. Viticulture is entirely organic.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal is unique in that it relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme. Due in part to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation, Portugal has developed independent of its fellow European compatriots. A long and narrow country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines in various styles.
The Duoro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines of the mainland include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde of the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Equal parts festive and food-friendly, sparkling wine is beloved for its lively bubbles and appealing aesthetics. Though it is often thought of as something to be reserved for celebrations, sparkling wine can be enjoyed on any occasion—and might just make the regular ones feel a bit more special. Sparkling wine is made throughout the world, but can only be called “Champagne” if it comes from the Champagne region of France. Other regions have their own specialties, like Prosecco in Italy and Cava in Spain. Sweet or dry, white or rosé (or even red!), lightly fizzy or fully sparkling, there is a style of bubbly wine to suit every palate.
The bubbles in sparkling wine are formed when the base wine undergoes a secondary fermentation, trapping carbon dioxide inside the bottle or fermentation vessel. Champagne, Cava and many other sparkling wines (particularly in the New World) are made using the “traditional method,” in which the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle. With this method, dead yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful and toasty flavors. For Prosecco, the carbonation process occurs in a stainless steel tank to preserve the fresh fruity and floral aromas preferred for this style of wine.