2018 Filipa Pato Bairrada Nossa Calcario Tinto



“I frequently compare Burgundy to Bairrada because of the similarities in soil, the difficult red grapes, and the small vineyard parcels.” — Filipa Pato

This wine is a love story.

It’s a love story about a woman named Filipa Pato, a chemical engineering graduate with a love of the indigenous grapes of her native Bairrada, the seaside province in the Biera region of Portugal. A woman who acknowledges she’s “a little crazy.” It’s a love story about a man named William Wouters, a Belgian sommelier and restaurateur. A man who Filipa describes as “crazy about wine.” When Filipa met William, their love story began, which led them to begin a wine estate of their own.

Filipa and William began their Bairrada estate with the objective of making “wines without makeup.” As its winemaker, Filipa cultivates the estate’s vineyards biodynamically and makes its wine as naturally as possible. Last year, 20 years after the couple began their estate, Filipa was named Portugal’s Winemaker of the Year.

Of the grapes she grows, Filipa is fondest of Baga, a dark, structured grape, which she says behaves in the vineyard like Pinot Noir in Burgundy. To me, Baga drinks like a robust Cru Beaujolais and ages like a delicate Cru Barbaresco. The Nossa Calcário is from a limestone vineyard of old vines Baga. (Nossa Calcário

means “our limestone.”) Filipa ferments the wine in oak lagares — large, open vats — and ages it in oak barrels.

The 2018 Nossa Calcário got 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, which raved “this is a perfectly constructed Baga that is precise, impeccably balanced, understated and focused. Fresh, yet caressing on the palate, this lingers nicely and adds a slightly earthy touch on the finish — that’s the Baga showing up for work.” The publication concludes, “This is very accessible. You can drink it now, although it will certainly reward you if you cellar it for a few years. It likely will hold for a couple of decades.”

But more than all of that, the 2018 Nossa Calcário is a love story. It’s a love story about Filipa, William, and anybody lucky enough to drink a few bottles of it.