The first sniff of Luis Pato Costa Baga will make you think of sweet, sweet candy. A sniff, however, can be deceptive. This lovely rosé is dry and tart with a finish that knocks the fruit (and any anticipation of sweetness) right out of your mouth.
This is a sparkling wine with a unique taste, high but balanced acidity and more than a hint of strawberry. It is refreshing but not as light as some roses—in color or taste. It also has a tartness to it as noted; indeed this is one of its most prominent characteristics.
Luis Pato Costa Baga is from Portugal and is grown in chalky soil. It is aged on the lees for three to nine months. What are “lees”? Lees is basically the crap left over after fermentation; dead yeast cells and other bits and pieces left over after fermentation. The lees are eventually removed from wine (but certainly not always). We won't get into HOW right at the moment but as you might imagine this detritus sinks to the bottom.
Yeasty, nutty flavors can come from aging on the yeast lees. During this aging these cells are basically decomposing and this adds flavor. The process is a bit more delicate and complicated than I can get into here but it is generally a desirable process with many grapes and wine varietals. It is a process that is fascinating and worth looking into.
This wine you won't necessarily notice a prominent bread-like taste or any real nuttiness. That is probably the grape used here—baga. The grape is used in making tannic, high acid reds that age well. But also rosés. It is also apparently a grape that is temperamental; it grows a lot of leaves that have to be trimmed, it needs plenty of sun and particular soils. It also ripens late. Growing baga requires a dedicated winemaker.
This sparkling rosé, which at a price of less than $20, is the payoff for all that hard work.