In the Douro: Niepoort

Niepoort's Quinta do Nápoles

Niepoort’s Quinta do Nápoles

Next stop on the Douro trip: Niepoort.

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It was a real pleasure to spend a few days at Quinta do Nápoles with one of my favourite people in the world of wine, Dirk Niepoort. Dirk picks early, so when we visited harvest, this year a little later in the Douro, was well underway, with the bulk of the grapes about to arrive.

Quinta do Carril

Quinta do Carril

During our time at Nápoles we tried quite a few Niepoort wines, as well as many non Niepoort wines. Here are notes on the Niepoort Douro wines.

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Niepoort Diálogo Branco 2015 Douro, Portugal
20% oak, 80% stainless. The oaked portion is wine that doesn’t make Redoma. Very fresh and pithy with bright lemons and herbs. Vivid and brisk with good acidity. Linear and refreshing with nice presence. 89/100

Niepoort Redoma Branco 2015 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Linear, pithy and quite focused with lovely bright pithy, slightly herb-tinged fruit. It’s lemony with some white peach, fennel and a hint of mint, as well as a bit of spicy cedary oak in the background. Tight-wound and quite dense, this needs some time to open out. 92/100

Niepoort Redoma Branco Reserva 2015 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Nutty, linear and vital with tightwound citrussy fruit. There’s a lovely lemon oil note here lurking above with some minerals and herbs. Lovely citrus core to the wine. Has great concentration and presence with good acidity, and it should age beautifully. There’s some cedary spicy oak here, too. 94/100

Niepoort Coche 2014 Douro, Portugal
Concentrated, linear, fresh and citrussy. Fine with incredible acidity and an amazing linear personality. Very fine and expressive with lovely mineral notes. There’s a touch of sweet pear and white peach fruit, together with lovely mineral framing. Such an expressive wine. 95/100

Niepoort Coche 2015 Douro, Portugal (cask sample)
Very fresh with lemons, and a pure intense mineral character. Has some ripe pear and white peach notes but there’s a lovely citrus drive and a hint of nuttiness around the edges. Lovely precision here and a bit of pithiness, too. 94-96/100

Niepoort Redoma Rosé 2015 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. Pale salmon pink in colour. Fresh with nice acidity and clean, slightly creamy, spicy, vanilla-edged fresh cherry and pear fruit. Nice spiciness. Very fresh and detailed with lovely personality. Fine and gastronomic. 89/100

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Niepoort Redoma Tinto 2014 Douro, Portugal
Pure, focused raspberry and cherry fruit. Has freshness and grip. Structured and quite fine with red cherries and raspberries. Fresh and delicious. 94/100

Niepoort Redoma Tinto 1991 Douro, Portugal
Another chance to look at the first official Redoma. Spicy, vivid red fruits and herbs on the nose. The palate is vivid, fresh, peppery and juicy with detailed red fruits, and raspberries and cherries. Nicely linear and focused with some elegance. 94/100

Niepoort Redoma Tinto 1996 Douro, Portugal
Fine, spicy and expressive with red cherries, spices and herbs. Lovely raspberry and redcurrants here. Juicy and focused with good acidity. So fresh in style with some grip still. 93/100\

Charme fermenting in barrel

Charme fermenting in barrel

Niepoort Charme 2014 Douro, Portugal
The majority of the grapes for this come from Vale Mendiz, and there’s a lot of Tinta Roriz here. Sweet, supple and expressive with lovely red cherries, some redcurrants and herbs. So expressive and textured. Lovely balance to the red fruits with some spicy oak in the background. Youthful and primary with lovely personality and great potential for development. 94/100

Niepoort Vertente 2014 Douro, Portugal
Mainly from Covas de Douro. 40% our vineyards. Mix of different varieties. Vinified in stainless steel with a long maceration of around 3-4 weeks. Aged in French barrels, mainly Francois Freres for around 20 months. 30% new oak. Fresh and vivid with a bit of spiciness. Juicy and focused with good acidity, and fresh, bright raspberry and blackberry fruit. Some cherries too, with a spicy finish. Fruity and easy with nice structure, and a hint of new oak. 92/100

Niepoort Redoma 2014 Douro, Portugal
The vineyards are always the left side of the Douro river. Carril goes mostly to Robustus, but when it doesn’t it goes to Redoma. Old vines, around 100 years old. Blends of different varieties. Vinified in lagars, mainly, with stems. This wine isn’t a fresh, elegant wine, but something that is more Douro. Aged in big foudres of 5 or 10 000 litres for 22 months. Robust, dense, spicy and vivid with lovely black cherries and firm tannic structure. Powerful and intense with lovely richness allied to spicy freshness. Grippy and a bit wild. Lovely. 94/100

Niepoort Batuta 2014 Douro, Portugal
Right side of the river. Mainly Tinta Amarela and Rufete. Very old vineyards, up to 130 years old. Fermented in stainless steel with a long (two month) maceration with very little extraction, and then 22 months in Francois Freres French oak, 20% new. Refined, structured, fresh and precise with lovely black cherry and raspberry fruit. Nice cedary structure here. Refined with good acidity and nice focus. Fresh and concentrated with lovely precision. This is tightwound and refined, and needs some time. But it’s really serious. 95/100

Niepoort Batuta 2013 Douro, Portugal
Focused and fresh with lovely bright cherry and raspberry fruit. Nice acidity. Powerful but balanced with lovely freshness and focus. 94/100

Niepoort Batuta 2011 Douro, Portugal
Brooding, intense black fruits nose. Complex, rich, tightwound blackberry and black cherry fruit with some tannic grip. Grippy and dense with richness and structure. Needs time. 93/100

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Niepoort Clos du Crappe 2013 Douro, Portugal
Remarkable stuff. There’s some spicy reduction here but it’s nicely integrated into the smooth, quite elegant juicy red cherry fruit. Very interesting and detailed with some grip on the finish. 93/100

Niepoort Robustus 2009 Douro, Portugal
Comes from old vineyards, mainly Carril. ‘It’s not easy to make Robustus,’ says Carlos. ‘It’s difficult to keep the wine so long in old oak.’ This is the next release, and the one after this will be the 2012 or 2013. Vinified in oak and lagares, aged four years in big foudres. A warm vintage, but a big selection allowed them to keep the style. Brooding slightly earthy black fruits with some undergrowth and spice notes. Smoke, spices, blood and herbs. Some pepper, too. Concentrated palate has a hint of mint and spice. Dense and peppery with real intensity and structure. Lovely spicy wildness and a core of black fruits. It’s the essence of the Douro. 96/100

Niepoort Robustus 2008 Douro, Portugal
Complex, dense, focused and brooding with a hint of mint and lovely definition. Complex tightwound blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with a dry, tannic, slightly salty finish. This has a slightly Barolo-like character with lots of fruit but also firm structure and good acidity. 96/100

Niepoort Turris 2013 Douro, Portugal
The first edition was 2012. ‘This is the top of the top,’ says Carlos Raposa. ‘It comes from the oldest vineyard we know in the Douro that’s 130 years old.’ Some of this wine becomes Turris and the rest is going to Batuta. It’s on the right side of the river. Vinified Batuta style in a foudre of 1000 litres. Old foudres from the Mosel. Amazingly fresh and elegant with lovely pure black cherry fruit with some vital, iron, blood and mineral notes. This has such amazing elegance and presence with lovely sanguine character. The acidity is well integrated and there’s a lovely compactness, purity and floral quality to the red fruits. There’s a real spicy, tamed-wild character. Thrilling. 97/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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