Luís Pato has been making wine in Bairrada since 1980, ten years after his father became the first producer to estate bottle wines. A self-described classicist and rebel, he fast forged his reputation with innovations which elevated the quality and, just as importantly, appeal of Baga, winning this tricky (late-ripening , tannic, high acid) grape new fans at home and abroad.
Luís’ innovations to optimise tannin quality include de-stemming Baga, ageing it in French oak barrels and green harvesting Vinha Pan, his new vineyard, despite the objection of his workers who believed it was ‘against God’ to throw grapes on the ground. A riskier approach adopted for his top wines is to plant shy-yielding ungrafted (Pé Franco) vines. “The idea is when you reduce Baga yields, the tannins turn softer and have much more flavour, so you can drink the wines younger than before,” says Pato.
Some 40 vintages later, the innovations still come thick and fast, with espumante and wines with no added sulphites. Luís’ white wines made from Bical, Maria Gomes, Cerceal and Sercialinho are very accomplished too. He is the Baga master, but not only.