Luis Pato Rebel, Luis Pato, Beiras

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Luis Pato Rebel is made by Luis Pato at Quinta do Ribeirinho, in Bairrada, where the Pato family have been making wine since the 18th Century. Luis Pato is a maverick, ground breaking and imaginative wine-maker who took over from his father Joao and made his first wine, a pure Baga, in 1980. In 1985 Pato introduced new ideas to Bairrada – de-stemming of Baga grapes and the maturation of wine in new French cask. Pato is continually looking forward, he is a genuine rebel, who, with a mix of science and revolution has introduced many innovations including his rotary fermenters. This has led to him being ostracised by the Bairraida DO (he left the DO in 1999). His wines are now usually labelled as Beiras DO, a Vinho Regional DO that covers Bairrada and Dao. Ironically, he is now probably the best-known wine-producer in the area. He has now been joined by his daughter Filipa. Pato has 60 hectares of vineyards which are planted with the red varieties Baga, Touriga Nacional and Tinto Cao. The white grape varieties planted are Maria Gomes, Bical, Cercial da Bairrada and Sercialinho (relatives of the Sercial of Madeira). Baga is the tradionatial red grape of the Bairrada Region but recent law changes have meant that more producers are using alternative grapes. According to Filipa Pato, Luis Pato’s daughter, “unfortunately this grape is being abandoned in the region in a dramatic fast way. Part of the heritage of old well located Baga vineyards was lost in the last decade.” Luis and Filipa are both members of Baga Friends, a group of like-minded Baga producers who have got together to educate the consumer about the Baga grape variety. Pato Rebel is designed to be a wine that shows that Baga can be aromatic with soft tannins. It is actually a blend comprised of 90% Baga, 9% Touriga Nacional and 1% of the local white grape variety Bical. It is made with a shorter maceration period than some of his other wines with strict control of fermentation temperature in order to produce a wine that is good for drinking early, from a year after harvest. Pato says that Baga can resemble both Nebbiolo from Barolo and Pinot Noir from Burgundy but describes the Rebel as being closer in profile to the aromatic delicacy and strength of the latter.

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