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 [...]

Some lovely Portuguese whites

Some Portuguese whites, tasted with lunch on the Lisbon coast. All impressive, and not too expensive.

Soalheiro Vinho Verde 2014 Portugal
This is benchmark Alvarinho from one of the top producers in the region. Lively precise pear and grapefruit flavours, showing nice focus with some spiciness. Precise with a lemony finish. 91/100

Redoma Branco 2013 Douro, Portugal
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 [...]

Video: Cockburn's Port Bicentenary Tasting

Here’s a film from the recent Cockburn’s Port Bicentenary tasting, held in London. It involved a range of Ports from Cockburn’s glory days to the present day, including a couple of rare pre-phylloxera bottles. The Symingtons purchased Cockburn’s in 2006 and their aim is to restore this Port house – which for a long time [...]

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 [...]

Some more pictures from the road

Some more pictures from the road. I’m now back from the quick Spain and Portugal trip, but I thought I’d share these. First of all, a couple of pictures from the brief stop in Ribeiro, the region inland from Rias Baixas that is a hot spot for the Treixadura grape variety.

Next, a shot of the [...]