Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira
The Brites Aguiar house is located close to one of the Douro’s wine-producing villages, Trevões, with its vineyards throughout the hillsides of Rio Torto benefiting from a fantastic terroir, which is shared with an olive grove, a cherry grove, a walnut grove and chestnut grove – very typical rural surroundings of this Douro region. It’s property of a family that has always been connected to the land. In 2002 they stopped delivering their grapes to the Adega Cooperativa and started working them in their own winery.So, the grapes grown in the 45 hectares of vineyards of the grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Francisca, began producing the wines of this house, with its own brands, “Brites Aguiar” and “Bafarela“.
Being a family business, António Domingos (Tomi to the closest friends) abandoned the idea of going to medical school and has now dedicated over 30 years entirely to the land and follows in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather. Between 1986 and 2004 he fully reconverted the vines so that they could be mechanically worked. He made his first vintage in 2003 and since 2004 he has been working with 2PR, from António Rosas and Pedro Sequeira – something that proved to be a right decision for they have been having great success. So, in 2004, the first Brites Aguiar is born, as well as the first wine with 17%. From the year 2008 onwards comes the Grande Reserva Bafarela, a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. It ages in 500 liters’ barrels that are used 3 times. Recently they decided to make a vertical tasting of the Grande Reserva Bafarela, which had never been made. And it was in the Douro environment that this tasting was carried out, in the presence of Tomi and his wife, and the winemakers António Rosas and Pedro Sequeira.
The venue, D.O.C., could not be more appropriate, literally over the river and with that sweeping landscape that fills the eyes and never tires. The wines were timely open and at the recommended temperature all showed an intense but elegant red color.
They have a common profile, elegant yet consistent with delicious chemical notes that give them some rusticity.
We began the tasting with the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2008 that has 14.5% alcohol. The nose shows some notes of evolution, some spices and hints of red fruit. In the mouth it has good acidity, it is elegant and has a simple but consistent structure. The age shows but drinks very well.
The Grande Reserva Bafarela 2009, also with 14.5%, is velvety, full of elegance, with notes of wild plants, rock rose, very fresh. In the mouth has volume, it is fresh and has excellent acidity, very persistent. It features notes of spices, fine tannins, and dry and great complexity. A serious wine.
Next up was the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2010, still with 14.5%, very soft, fine, good ripe fruit and very elegant. The palate is fresh, intense, well-bound tannins, beautiful acidity and red fruits, complex and very long, already good for drinking.
The Grande Reserva Bafarela 2011, with 15% alcohol, is very soft, elegant, has plenty of fruit and some freshness. In the mouth the same profile, excellent acidity, very ripe fruit, freshness, some spices and a very long finish. The year doesn’t show.
Then it was time for the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2012, with 14% alcohol, a beautiful aromatic profile, some floral, very fresh. Soft notes of spices, bulky, good presence of ripe fruit, intense tannins and beautiful finish. A year that continues to surprise with beautiful wines like this.
It ended with the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2013, the latest, with 14.5% alcohol. Very elegant, silky, ripe fruit, intense, hill plant fragrances. In the mouth it is very fruity, fresh, with the acidity well-linked with the tannins, good structure. A wine still young, evolving, and time in bottle is going to enhance it.
The tasting was then followed by a lunch in that so welcoming environment.
After one of the Chef’s appetizers we started by an excellent crab ravioli with celery and mushrooms, a very fresh dish that was very well accompanied by the brand new Bafarela Rosé 2015, full of freshness, dry, very good. Too bad there’s so few bottles of it!
The we had Bísaro pork cheeks with French pearl barley, creamy, well-connected, really good. The harmonization was made with Bafarela Colheita 2014, young but intense, giving good replica to the pork.
We then proceeded to the lamb of milk with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle jus, refined, aromatic, very tender and tasty meat, in the company of Bafarela Grande Reserva 2013, which we had already tasted and was up to the dish.
We had the dessert with this same wine – cheese and red fruits.
I really had a good time in Douro, with the Bafarela family…