This, a first for the winemaker (Pato did not embark on winemaking full time until 1985), flies against just about every innovation the Baga master was subsequently to introduce. For starters, Pato did no green or precision harvesting to lighten the vine’s load and help the fruit ripen earlier in the season (before the break in the weather). And with a lack of labour to pick the grapes, this wine came in late – at 16 degrees potential alcohol by volume no less! So the cellar snake came into play (it was watered down). Nor was it de-stemmed or aged in oak barrels to mellow its tannins. This wine was whole bunch fermented and aged in cement tanks (though Pato did use pump overs – an innovative technique back then). The colour of this wine is quite incredible – dark and luxurious – the colour of black plums. In the mouth, it’s really plummy too – confit of plum with dried spices, a woody (not unattractive) firmess (grape tannins?) and a touch of ripe tarriness. As it opens up, the sweetness of the fruit – ripe raspberries and plums – becomes more pronounced and it unravels layers of dark chocolate, cassia bark, orange peel and oyster shell (as if returning to its chalky soils). The tannins become suppler – seamlessly supportive. I’m bowled over by how well this 33 year old wine not only holds it shape in the mouth, but also continues to build in flavour. No sign of drying out whatsover; still supremely well balanced. It’s a treasure.