February 23, 2005
Luis Pato 1999 Vinho Regional Beiras Baga
(Imported by Wineworth LLC, Bellevue, Wash.; about $11)
Pato had a cute duck on his label far before the wine aisles were invaded by furry animals, so this is an exception to my usual rule of avoiding wines sporting animals. Pato, you see, means duck in Portuguese. And Luis Pato has been making the top wines of Bairrada, an area within Beiras off the Atlantic coast of Portugal, since he took over from his dad in 1980. The main grape there, Baga, is known for being ferociously tannic, but in Pato's hands it comes off as firm and supple, its black-as-night flavors an excellent choice for a winter stew.
This review originally appeared in the Denver Post.