Baga is a black Portuguese grape* with a reputation of producing wines of very varying quality between the years.

Characteristics
Baga is a small grape with a thick skin which explains why it is prone to deliver wines with high levels of tannins.

This is a result of the fact that the proportion between skin and pulp differs depending on grape size.

It is also characterised by high acidity levels.

Notes of cherries, plums, and with some age, also tobacco and coffee. Baga is a high yielding variety and thus requires green harvest in order to deliver high quality wines.

Baga is also known as a variety that is difficult to grow, and the viticulturist each year faces a difficult decision; wait to let the grapes accumulate more sugar and at the same time risk the harvest because of too much humidity, or harvest earlier but with less sugar in the grapes.

Wines
You will find Baga as varietal wine, as well as in a sparkling version. The label to look for to arrive with a bit of higher quality is Bairrada DOC.

Food pairing
Pairing suggestions are light pork or duck dishes. If it is a Baga of good quality it will easily take on also marinated ribs.

Serve the dry Baga at 16-18°C/61-64°, and the sparkling version at 10-12°C/50-54°F.

Where is it grown?
Baga is true to its origin and can be found only in Portugal, where there are plantings of 4.108 ha/10,151 ac. This makes it the eleventh most planted variety in the country.

Apart from a very small area, all plantings are in the central north of Portugal; Beira Litoral, Beira Interior, Alto-Trás-os-Montes, and Ribatejo e Oeste, with Beira Litoral having ninety-two percent of all plantings.

History
Baga is recognised as a grape indigenous to Portugal and is thought to come from the Dão wine region.

*Baga is also a synonym used for the French grape Alicante Henri Bouschet (see separate post).