Bical Passa 2005
The PipaRoza restaurant, in Évora, is a box of surprises as far as wine is concerned. Being a regular customer, employees already know that I like to try new things, so they challenge me whenever they open something interesting (which happens with some frequency, since in PipaRoza all wines are sold by the glass: from EA to Pêra- Manca!). In one of the usual dinners on Wednesday, where I usually eat alone at the bar or, luckily, with the company of Pedro Carvalho (the boss), Fábio an employee told me: “Today we have something special …”
“What is it?”
“A wine made with dried grapes in the shade.”
“A Passito? Good! … Red? “
” White. “
” Hmmm, OK … Sweet? “
” It’s dry. “
“?! … Vin de Paille white and dry? Interesting … Where is it from? “
” It’s from Bairrada and it’s made with Bical. “
” Damn it, man! Please serve the wine, you’ve made me uneasy! “
That was not exactly how it happened, but it could have been. The conversation already says a lot about wine, and it is difficult to know more: an internet research has yielded little and the producer’s website does not mention anything, perhaps because the production was very small, I imagine …
Being made with dehydrated grapes, which causes a great concentration of sugars, it would be expected that it was sweet, but with dry profile and 16% of alcohol, I presume that it was allowed to ferment before being bottled – as in itelians Amarone della Valpolicella?
Let’s taste it: the color is golden straw, with a touch of topaz. It has a yeast, vegetable scent, to remind you of some Palomino Fino de Jerez, but in the mouth it is very different: orange pulp fruit (apricot, mango) to appear in this, when in these is normally absent. Notes of pastries (brioche), which in the nose are only a nuance, are confirmed in the mouth. Also on the nose it has aromas of marmalade that fit very curiously in the dry profile of the palate. It has great complexity, to which the presence of vanilla and other spices contributes. Beautiful fresh acidity that gives great tension and liveliness to the most unctuous framing of wine. The ending is very intense and prolonged.
Due to its dry and fresh profile, it appears, as indicated on the label, as an aperitif, for example with toasted almonds, but it would also see it at the table accompanying scallops sautéed with foie gras, or even at the end of the meal.along with a cured or half-cure cheese.
Whoever has never tasted it, prepare yourself for something different, as has never been proven before from Portuguese vineyards (and few other places in the world will do similar things!).
Anyway, a relic … Come on over, Dr. Campolargo!
G. P. (MAR-2019)
- 17.5 Points