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New Douro 2004 tasting
The wines
of Niepoort

Niepoort Vihnos SA, Rua Infante Dom Henrique 16-2, 4050-296 Porto, Portugal
Website: www.niepoort-vinhos.com E-mail: info@niepoort-vinhos.com

Iíve written widely about Dirk Niepoort and his wines on these pages over the last four years, so Iíll just give a brief introduction here. Niepoort was a small, high quality port lodge in Vila Nova, without any of its own vineyards. Then, in 1987 Dirk joined his father in the family business, and things changed. They acquired two Quintas in the Douro, NŠpoles and Carril, and in 1990 began making table wines: Robustus, in 1990 was experimental, and from 1991 it became Redoma. To Redoma Tinto Dirk has gradually added a stable of wines, including the more affordable Vertente, two wonderful Redoma whites, two icon reds in Batuta and Charme, and most recently a Riesling-style white called Tiara. Also made, but not sold in the UK, are a bargain red called Fabelhaft, a Douro-D„o blend called Dado, and an Austrian red called Spitzerberg. Then there experimental batches of Douro Riesling and Pinot Noir.

With the 2004 wines I think Dirk has excelled, and perhaps these are truer to the Niepoort vision than the previous few vintages (although the 2001s stood out as exceptional, too). Batuta and Charme are both astonishingly good: perhaps Portugalís best ever table wines? The only shame is that they are made in such small quantities.

Redoma Branco Reserva 2004
Made from three old vineyards at altitude. Predominantly Rabigato, but with some Viozinho, Donzelinho, Dodega and Arinto, as well as others, too. Really nice perfumed nose is rich, full, fruity and lemony with complex waxy notes. Really lovely densely textured palate is fruity and smooth with a nice herbiness and long, spicy, mineralic finish. Very good/excellent 94/100

Niepoort Vertente 2004
Lovely bright fresh red fruits here with good acidity. A nice wine showing good concentration and freshness. Very good+ 89/100

Niepoort Redoma 2004
This is the wine that sums up the Douro for me. Lovely bright, spicy definition to the nose which shows brilliant red and black fruits. The palate has great acidity and lots of structure. Itís similar in style to the 2001, just a bit finer and a little better. Less wild, tooóbut everything is here. Very good/excellent 94/100

Niepoort Batuta 2004
Lovely full, fresh nose showing sweet dark chocolatey, spicy notes. Great definition. The palate is concentrated with rich, sweet fruit, but under this the structure is huge. A powerful yet elegant, intense yet refined wine that is simply thrilling. A fresh, tight style with lots of potential. Excellent 96/100

Niepoort Charme 2004
Smooth, sweet, open elegant nose with hints of chocolate and vanilla. The palate is soft and concentrated with refined tannins and nice spiciness to the structure. However, the tannins hide well behind the fruit. Is it a hint of new wood showing, or the influence of the stems? A serious wine with a great future ahead of it, and one which may well outperform Batuta in the future, although the styles are quite different. Excellent 95/100

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Wines tasted 05 and 07/06
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