In the Douro (3) Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort needs no introduction. For me, this is the Douro’s most exciting winery (it’s one of the world’s most exciting wineries, for that matter). Dirk says that in 2013 he made some radical changes and ‘pressed a re-set button.’ The wines, already excellent, have taken a step forward with the 2013s. And 2014s from [...]

In the Douro (2) Quinta Vale Dona Maria

Two very interesting visits yesterday: Vale Dona Maria and Niepoort. There’s something nice about unhurried appointments. It takes the pressure off: you don’t need to gather the maximum information in the shortest time, and you can have a good look around. It’s surprising how the conversation turns, and what you learn. So it was nice [...]

In the Douro, 1 - Quinta do Vale Meão

I’m in the Douro. As is common on the road, time for blogging is short, and internet connections are not always guaranteed (although across the world they are so much better than they used to be even five years ago). So, a quick update on day 1. I was at Quinta do Vale Meão, which is [...]

Back to Portugal, off to the Douro again

I’m off to Portugal this evening. Back to the Douro, for some quality time with the Douro Boys.

I remember my first visit to the Douro. It was back in May 2002. I’d been to a wine dinner and met this Portuguese winemaker. A bloke called Dirk Niepoort. I sat next to him, and at the [...]

A mini vertical of Noval Vintage Port

Had a chance to try four vintages of Noval side by side. Sadly, this was tasting not drinking – and usually, tasting notes made in the act of drinking have more value than those made from just tasting – but it was nice to revisit these wines. Some comments. First, the Silval 2005! This is [...]

Quinta do Noval 2013 Vintage Port

Don’t you just love eccentric declarations? We’re talking Vintage Port here. It used to be so solemn and predictable: three declarations a decade, from the very best years, agreed in a gentlemanly fashion over a long lunch at the Factory House (or, at least, that’s how it seems from the outside). Now Quinta do Noval [...]

Kopke Colheita Ports back to 1941

Colheitas are single vintage Tawny Ports (that is, Ports that have been aged for a long time in large oak barrels, rather than bottled after a few years and aged in bottle), and Kopke are specialists with this style of Port. They have good stocks of old Colheitas which they bottle on order, and the [...]

The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the [...]

Two from Portugal: Vale Meão 2005 and Casa de Mouraz Elfa 2010

Portugal is a wonderful wine country, and one that I’ll be focusing on a bit this year, after having let it suffer mild neglect at my hands. Here are two lovely wines. One, a leading Douro red with almost a decade’s bottle age, and the other a distinctive field blend from Dão.

Casa de Mouraz Elfa [...]

Sandeman Vau Vintage Port 2003

I remember the excitement of discovering that Oddbins were selling the 1997 version of this wine for just £5 for a half bottle back in 2001. This was in the early days of wineanorak, and I recall drinking quite a few of these. Now the 2003 vintage (a very good one for Port) is being [...]