For most folks, Portugal is the home of one of the World’s most famous fortified dessert wines: Port.

But Portugal is home to hundreds of indigenous grape varieties that most wine drinkers have never heard of, most of which make really tasty wine, sweet and dry. How does Baga strike you? Don’t know it? Well you should…

Baga is a red grape grown primarily in the DOC zone of Bairrada along the Atlantic coast in the larger region of Beiras. The Atlantic Ocean serves to moderate the climate, which is ideal for grape cultivation. Baga tends to produce tannic, complex wines with fairly high acidity, not unlike traditional Barbera from Piedmont in Italy.

Casa de Saima, managed by Granca Miranda, maintains the fundamentalist tradition of treading by foot, fermenting in lagares, and aging the wine in 100 year old large casks, before an unfiltered bottling. The result is an approachable wine that has unmistakable, classic character. At an average bottle price of $9.99 per bottle pre-discount this is a significantly undervalued wine.

My tasting note:

Lush nose with black cherry, tar and floral hints. Medium-to-full-bodied with moderate acidity and firm, dry tannin – good balance. Nice core of dark fruit with plum, tobacco and vanilla notes. Moderate length – smooth – drinking well now and should improve with another 2 to 3 years in bottle. Great value!