Located an hour's drive south of Oporto and betwixt the Bairrada and Dao regions, I've stayed at Bussaco Palace Hotel en passant, checking in late and checking out early in and amongst visits with local wine producers. This is the ideal spot to pay homage to the Baga grape variety.
Envisioned as “a cathedral of wine” to show off the region. The wines are made from grapes sourced from the hotel’s own vineyards as well as local growers in the Dao and Bairrada. Reservado reds are a blend of Bairrada Baga and Touriga Nacional from the Dao; Vinha da Mata – a single vineyard red – is more focused on Baga (65% of the blend) because the vineyard is on Bairrada’s chalky clay soils. Whites are a blend of Dao Encruzado with Maria Gomes and Bical from Bairrada.
Once bottled, the wines used to be aged in the hotel’s cellar for 3-4 years in large barrels (toneis) made of Bussaco oak or chesnut, Brazilian oak (Macacauba) and mahogany, then in bottle (3 years for the white, 4-5 years for the red). However, because there was no-one to take care of the toneis, since 2000 the wines have been aged in smaller (300l) oak barrels, with a percentage of new oak (although Vinha da Mata is aged 100% in new oak for just 12 months).