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Niepoort Batuta vertical

Dirk Niepoort's Batuta is one of Portugal's most sought after wines. Since the first release, the 1999, it has achieved a place among Potugal's elite. I recently (March 2004) had the chance to try the three vintages released so far.

I've tried the 1999 and 2000 on several separate occasions, but this was my first time with the 2001. These are clearly very serious, impressive wines that wiill need time to show their best. At the moment they are quite hard to assess, but my favourite is the 2001, followed by the 1999. As with Dirk's Redoma (first produced in 1991) the style seems to be evolving, but Dirk is understandably happy with 2001 (I also tried the 2001 Redoma, which is more approachable, albeit still a big wine, and combines power, wildness and finesse - it's delicious). It will be fascinating to see how these wines evolve, and I'd expect the scores given here to go up significantly with a few years bottle age.     

Niepoort Batuta 2001 Douro
Perfumed chocolatey, spicy nose with some roasted notes and taut dark fruits. Thereís a lovely tight, rounded spicy structure to the palate which has more of that roasted edge and a spicy finish. Dense, taut and concentrated this is a young wine with a lot of potential. Refreshingly this is only 12.8% alcohol. Two days later we retried what was left in the bottle: it was still dense and tight, but the roasted character has diminished, which brings the focused fruit more to the fore. Very good/excellent 94/100

Niepoort Batuta 2000 Douro
Tight herby nose is a little shy. The palate is dense, taut, spicy and herby with great concentration of fruit and a firm structure, together with vibrant acidity. Itís got great structure but presently it is at a bit of an awkward stage in its development. It's a more polite, less extreme wine than the other two. Very good/excellent 91/100

Niepoort Batuta 1999 Douro
A little shy on the nose initially, this opens out to show ripe red and black fruits with a savoury spicy edge. The palate shows chewy, spicy fruit with great structure and super balance. Lots of personality here. Good acidity underlying the vivid fruit. Some of the initial impact that this wine had a couple of years ago has gone, and it's yet to take on the secondary complexity that comes with age. Patience will be required. Very good/excellent 93/100  

see also: Dinner with Dirk Niepoort, Douro table wine series

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