Tag Archives: Niepoort

Alright, still (Douro Valley, Portugal – Day Two)

The shift of focus from fortified port wines to still wines could not have waited much longer in the Douro. The entire fortified wine market has been diminishing since the 1980s as more people have been drinking dry wines all over the world. The limitations of matching port with food don’t help with the accessibility of these wines as well, as there are only so many styles and they are generally sweeter and all more alcoholic. In the past fortified wines were one of the most popular categories – particularly port and sherry wines – and they were even produced as far away as the USA and Australia. The growth of still wine production of course has been seen all over the world to the unfortunate detriment of fortified wines. Thus in an effort to stay alive it was important for the producers of the Douro to explore the opportunities of still wine production, and in a sense it couldn’t have come at a better time. The climate is one of the biggest influences on the style of wine they can produce which is big, rich and red. This style of wine has been popular for about 20 years in a number of key markets around the world, thanks in part to the influence of US wine critic Robert Parker who loves this style of wine. Thus a confluence of factors has provided them a great opportunity into the future. The producers I visited on my second day are some of the most important producers of still wine in the region.
If it weren’t empty I would be making wine angels

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Niepoort – 17/07/2012

2011 Malolactic white
Very textural, creamy yet fresh and tropical in nature. Balanced and long, well-integrated but in need of some more time in the barrel.

2010 Vertente
Broad and soft, but focused with gentle tannins, some maturity and drive, great balance and already drinking well. Slight savoury character, almost reminiscent of tonkatsu sauce in a sweet and sour kind of way.

2010 Redoma Red
More intense and brooding, slightly more dark fruit characters, more of that mulberry. Slightly more classic Douro red profile, tighter tannins, but still a hint of tonkatsu.

2010 Red
Very intense and structured, powerful focused and expressive tannins, more layers of complexity that will take time to open up. More in the soy spectrum, beautiful with a sukiyaki. A sensational wine that is looking closed and reductive for now.

Dry White Port
Fine and focused, balanced but a little sharp and volatile. Needs more time to soften and then blended to make it a rich textural wine really good with food.

2010 Moscatel
Rich round and viscous, sweet profile and so similar to muscatel sherry they would be indistinguishable.

2010 Charmes
A truly unique wine, like Cote-de-Nuits made in the Douro. Whole bunch maceration and partial fermentation, completed in barrel to give the wine a soft but very savoury funky character, unbelievable complex and long, and will age interestingly.

LBV 2007
Rosy smoky toasty depth. Quite warm initially on the palate, but very focused and bold, nice concentration, dark fruits, velvety and full, will actually age gracefully in the bottle.

Bioma 2008
Nice dusty red earth characters, showing a little toastiness. Wonderful concentration and density, very tight and focused with a great core of acidity, the elegance is lurking in the background urging you to age it for at least 10 years.

VP 2009
Amazingly intense and brooding, concentrated but not expressive. Far too young to be showing anything, need to give it time to open up. Dense powerful bold and assured on the palate, wonderful integration of fruit, sweetness and alcohol. Very long and complex on the palate, supple and slightly savoury on the back. Need to see it again in a couple more years.

10-year-old tawny
Lovely subtle yet bright fruit nose, very elegant caramel influence, not a lot of nut or oxidative elements. Full and intense, exceptional focus and precision, balance and intensity, freshness.

LBV 1987
Very fine, complex and subtle, smoky creamy milk chocolate and wonderful orange characters, some bright red fruits, fresh and lively and full of life and vibrancy. Very special wine. Still retaining some sweetness but the savoury notes showing through beautifully.
Old Niepoort bottles

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