The Wine: Espumante Bruto Branco 2021
Duckman Espumante Bruto Branco is a naturally sparkling white wine made from 100% Fernão Pires. The grapes are sourced from 20-year-old vines planted on 2 hectares of sandy soil within a site called Amoreira da Gândara. The grapes are harvested at the beginning of September with spontaneous fermentation taking place in stainless steel, with ambient yeasts, for three weeks with no temperature control. The wine is aged one year on lees, bottled in October 2018, and released in January 2020. (source: Savio Soares)
The Producer: João Pato (a.k.a. Duckman)
The Duckman wines express the true character of Bairrada’s indigenous varietals and its exceptional maritime influence. There are no indications of the region on the labels, done intentionally to demonstrate an acute sense of place and varietal typicity through minimal intervention in the cellar. Maria Pato, the daughter of Luis Pato, created this project because of her love of the region and varietals, so much so that she felt constrained by the standards of Bairrada winemaking. For both of them, only the indigenous varietals can be Bairrada wine, not imports that want to claim it as their own identity. Luis and Maria work from two main vineyards, Amoreira da Gândara which is composed of mostly sandy soils, and Óis do Bairro which is composed of mostly chalky-clay soils. Here they grow both red and white varietals: Baga, Bical, Cercial, and Fernão Pires (a.k.a. Maria Gomes). (source: Savio Soares)
The Region: Bairrada
Bairrada is a region located in northwest Portugal within the wider region called Beira Litoral, between the Atlantic Ocean (west) and the mountains of Dão region (east), stretching from the coast to the border with Spain.
The most widely planted grape varietal in this region is Baga (75% of all vineyards), traditionally vinified into dark red powerful wines with firm tannins. Other red varietals grown in Bairrada are Portugal native like Castelão, Rufete, Touriga Nacional but also international, such as Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Among the several white grape varietals grown in the region, we have Arinto, Bical, Cercial, Sercialinho, Fernão Pires, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Terroir of Bairrada
Bairrada’s terroir and its wines are deeply influenced by two elements: the Atlantic Ocean, and the clay soils rich in limestone. The Ocean mitigates the climate, which could be defined as maritime with substantial rainfall. The further we move from the coast towards the Dão region, the higher the quality of the grapes.