Dona Berta: traditional, restrained, delicious Douro wines

There’s something very traditional about the labelling of these wines from Douro estate Dona Berta: pure and classic. This is reflected in the winemaking style, which shows admirable restraint and purity.

The estate, based in Quinta do Carrenho in the Douro Superior, was established some 40 years ago by an engineer, Hernâni Verdelho, using old family […]

Video: Pinhão station and its famous tiles

Ever since I first arrived at Pinhão station in Portugal’s Douro Valley, I’ve been amazed by its beautiful blue tiles (azulejos). Overall, there are 3024 of these hand-painted tiles, arranged in 24 panels depicting wine production in the Douro as it would have been a century ago.

The station dates back to 1880, but the tiles […]

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2015

I’ve been enjoying this wine over the last few evenings. It’s a superb expression of a very fine year in the Douro, the 2015 from Quinta da Romaneira. I have no idea why this vintage wasn’t widely declared. Romaneira is a spectacular, well situated property in the Cima Corgo region of the Douro, and it […]

Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro's best Quintas, is sold by Cristiano van Zeller

Sad to learn that Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro’s top quintas, has been sold by Cristiano van Zeller to the Guedes family of Aveleda Vinhos, one of the leading producers in Vinho Verde. Fortunately, Cristiano already has a good relationship with the Guedes (they have family ties) and he and his […]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2015

Quinta do Noval have lately become known for what the English wine trade describe quaintly as ‘eccentric’ declarations. They released a vintage Port in 2013, for example. Now they’ve released 2015. It’s not a surprise, because 2015 was a really good vintage, and I’m surprised more people haven’t declared it. Of course, these days there’s […]

Eight decades of Kopke Colheita ports

After judging at the IWC on Thursday there was a chance to try some more wine. Normally after a busy day tasting hungreds of wines, the last thing I feel like is more wine. But these wines were different: eight Kopke Colheita Ports from 2007 back until 1937.

A Colheita is a tawny port from a […]

Niepoort's Clos de Crappe: an unusual, remarkable wine

You can’t put Dirk Niepoort in a box. He’s not your standard winemaker. Who releases a wine called ‘Clos de Crappe’ with the description ‘technically a disaster’? (See above from the Niepoort website.) As Dirk explains in the film below, Clos de Crappe was originally a wine made with a view to producing a slightly […]

How Port wine is made, in pictures

 

The Douro Valley in northern Portugal is the home of Port, a famous fortified wine style. The region is one of the most beautiful in the world, with steeply sloped banks rising on either side of the Douro river and its tributaries.

These steep slopes are often trellised so they can be worked safely, but where […]

How Port wine is made: a film from the 2016 vintage

By Jamie Goode and Treve Ring (Gismondi on Wine)

In mid-September, we visited the Douro Valley in Portugal during harvest. We spent quite a bit of time chatting with the producers. The vibe here was good: most seemed to be in the midst of a successful vintage, and quite happy with the fruit that was coming […]

Lunch with Dirk Niepoort at Trinity, Clapham

Last week we had a wonderful lunch at Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Old Town, with Dirk Niepoort and his wines. Trinity is a great place, and Adam Byatt had prepared a lovely informal sharing menu based on pyrenees kid goat cooked on charcoal. This is the sort of food I love. There was roast goat […]