01 Luis Pato, Baga
Here's yet another bad bottle of Pato's (young vines?) Baga. While I have a rule to not write up spoiled bottles, it seems relevant to talk about this one because more the half the bottles I've had have been off. Though never particularly complex--a dumb cousin, in fact, of the legendary old vines version--it's at least plush and fruity when it's right. It's just a crapshoot, though, and I'm sick of rolling snake eyes. The evil serpent of volatile acidity renders this wine, more often than not, lightly sparkling. It's a miserable sensation on the tongue, tacky and acerbic like a grape Jolly Rancher rendered in a bottle of Zima. I caught this bottle before it turned to vinegar, so the fruit's actually still pretty nice. Just lightly floral from the touriga nacional that's blended in with a decent amount of raspberry on the finish. Even off, it's drinkable, especially once the fizz blows off. But it makes me very suspicious of the winery--one of my favorite wineries on the planet. Instead of noticing and calling back the bottles, Pato officially released an actual sparkling version (one that was meant to be sparkling). I don't mean to suggest that they took their VA batches of baga and staged a cover-up by releasing the fizz (the bubbly red is actually very good), but it does make one wonder.