Portugal’s Bairrada Sparkling Wine Makes a Great Addition to the Traditional
Easter Holiday Dinner
This affordable wine promises an intense flavor that complements both pork and
March 27, 2009–Wine enthusiasts looking for something different to serve at
Easter dinner this year should consider a Bairrada wine, an emerging wine from
the central region of Portugal. The wine is the perfect match for ham, lamb or
any flavorful meat.
Known in America for making fine port, Portugal has been gaining attention on
the world stage as a producer of flavorful yet affordable wines. The Portuguese
wine making industry spent the past 20 years investing in modernizing equipment
and improving cultivation techniques. In 2008, the push for top-notch quality
paid off. Eight Portuguese wines were listed in Wine Enthusiast’s 2008 “100 Best
Buys,” and four of Portugal’s wines made the Wine Spectator’s “Top 100″ list,
all scoring 90 or above.
Bairrada sparkling wine is one of Portugal’s unique varieties gaining notoriety.
The word Bairrada comes from the Portuguese word “barros,” or clay, and refers
to the region’s soil. Winemakers here predominantly use the red Baga grape,
known for producing tannic wines with bold color and intense flavor. The
combination of the deep grape flavors and rich soil produces a complex wine that
has long been paired with roasted suckling pig in Portuguese restaurants.
The flavorful elements that make Bairrada a perfect complement to roasted pork
also pair nicely with a smoked ham or subtle lamb roast the two most popular
centerpieces of the American Easter dinner.
A Bairrada label commonly found in the United States is Caves Alianca vineyards,
which claims a vast series of six estates throughout Portugal. Their 2004
Bairrada Reserva Bruto sells for about $11 and can be purchased at online wine
retailers like ShopRite Wines & Liquors of Chester
(http://www.shopritewines.com/) and Columbia Wine Company
Other Bairrada producers to look for are Quinta do Encontro and the region’s
most well known winemaker Luis Pato, considered to be the top producer of Baga
casta wines. More information at http://www.viniportugal.com.